ECan failing Canterbury’s rivers and lakes

Environment Canterbury (ECan) must take tougher action on farmers who let stock graze in rivers and lakes, to stop further pollution of our waterways, the Green Party said today.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) must take tougher action on farmers who let stock graze in rivers and lakes, to stop further pollution of our waterways, the Green Party said today.

 

The comments come on the back of a Fish and Game report that shows ECan didn’t even bother to visit farms in 30 percent of instances where members of the public or farm staff had complained about stock grazing in waterways. ECan instead relied on farmers’ assurances they won’t do it again rather than take proper enforcement action.

 

“This is sends a clear signal to farmers that allowing stock in waterways is no big deal,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

  

“If someone breaks the law, the police wouldn’t just give them a phone call and ask them not to do it again.

 

“Many farmers have taken the lead by fencing off waterways to stock, undertaking riparian planting at the edges of waterways, and providing proper infrastructure on their farms so that cows have plenty to drink on hot days. ECan is failing those farmers by letting others who make little effort to protect waterways off the hook.

 

“Cantabrians want swimmable lakes and rivers and they’re not going to get that if ECan doesn’t crack down on farmers who are allowing their stock to pollute the waterways.

 

“Stock in waterways cause nitrogen pollution in the water, erode the stream banks, and causes harmful sediment build-up in rivers and streams.

 

“For ECan to not even visit a third of the sites where complaints have been made shows a lack of commitment to cleaning up rivers and lakes that are badly polluted by dairy intensification.  

 

“We want ECan to guarantee non-compliant farms are brought into line, and guarantee that if it does happen again, farms will be penalised,” said Ms Delahunty.

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