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  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Waikato Regional Plan » Waikato Regional Plan (online version) » 4.2 River and Lake Bed Structures » 4.2.2 Objective

4.2.2 Objective

The use, erection, reconstruction, placement, alteration, extension, removal or demolition of structures in, on, under or over the beds of rivers and lakes managed in a manner that:

  1. produces a net reduction in the adverse effects of the destabilisation of river and lake beds
  2. does not have adverse effects on water quality, flow regimes, aquatic ecosystems and wetlands that are inconsistent with Water Management Objective 3.1.2
  3. does not obstruct fish passage for trout and indigenous fish to complete their life cycle
  4. preserves the natural character of river and lake beds and their margins and protects them from inappropriate use and development
  5. there is no increase in the adverse effects of flooding
  6. provides for navigation of water bodies where appropriate
  7. remedies or mitigates adverse effects of existing structures on the relationship tangata whenua as kaitiaki have with identified taonga, such as waahi tapu, native flora and fauna and access to their customary fisheries
  8. avoids significant adverse effects of new structures on the relationship tangata whenua as kaitiaki have with identified taonga, such as waahi tapu, native flora and fauna and access to their customary fisheries
  9. remedies or mitigates cumulative adverse effects on the relationship tangata whenua as kaitiaki have with their identified taonga, such as waahi tapu, native flora and fauna and access to their customary fisheries
  10. maintains existing legal public access to and along river and lake beds and their margins.

Principal Reasons for Adopting the Objective
Some structures on the beds of lakes and rivers are important in enabling people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural well-being and may have historical/archeological significance. However, some structures can have significant adverse effects on the beds of rivers and lakes either individually or in combination with other structures. These can include loss of physical space, navigation hazards, prevention of fish migration, changes to the nature of benthic communities, interference with sediment transport processes, obstruction and flooding. In addition, structures can both provide habitat and result in loss of habitat.

Parts a), b), c) and d) of Objective 4.2.2 states the desired outcomes Waikato Regional Council is seeking to achieve in respect of part a) of Issue 4.2.1.

Part a) of the objective focuses on reducing adverse effects of destabilisation associated with a structure. These words are consistent with the objective for Section 3.3.11 (River and Lake Beds Management) of the Waikato RPS. Destabilisation of river and lake beds is a natural process and may even be desirable to prevent sediment build-up and aggradation of river beds. The word ‘net’ has been included because it may not be possible to produce a complete reduction in the adverse effects of destabilisation of river and lake beds. For guidance on interpretation of this expression refer to the policy framework in this chapter in conjunction with Section 1.3.3 of the RPS.

Part b) of Objective 4.2.2 provides a strong link between this chapter of the Plan and Objective 3.1.2 in the Water Module. The management of water and river and lake beds are interlinked and each can directly influence the other. This part of the objective therefore provides for integrated management of water and river and lake beds.

Structures may obstruct the passage of fish. Part c) of Objective 4.2.2 ensures that structures in, on, under or over the beds of rivers and lakes do not obstruct fish passage for indigenous fish and trout to complete their lifecycle. For a number of indigenous fish species and trout in some areas (such as Lake Taupo), the ability to migrate is a critical component in their lifecycle. If they cannot migrate to spawning areas or to adult habitat the fishery will become unsustainable. Structures in water bodies that are important for fish spawning or habitat must be designed to ensure that fish are able to pass the structure.

Structures may also impact on the natural character of river or lake beds. Part d) of Objective 4.2.2 recognises that the management of structures should ensure that natural character is protected.

Part e) of Objective 4.2.2 recognises that structures can exacerbate the adverse effects of flooding, such as damage to property. This part of the objective identifies that the exacerbation of these effects is not acceptable and should not be increased.

There are many different uses made of river and lake beds some of which may obstruct navigation. Part f) of Objective 4.2.2 recognises that structures may obstruct navigation and pose a threat to human safety. Structures should be located in such a way as to avoid obstructions to navigation.

Part g) acknowledges that existing structures in, on, under or over the beds of rivers and lakes can cause adverse effects on the relationship tangata whenua as kaitiaki have with their identified taonga, such as waahi tapu, native flora and fauna and access to their customary fisheries. These adverse effects are more easily remedied or mitigated as they occur, through a permitted activity rule or resource consent conditions.

New structures in, on, under or over the beds of rivers and lakes may also have impacts on the relationship tangata whenua as kaitiaki have with their identified taonga such as waahi tapu, native flora and fauna and access to customary fisheries. Part h) of Objective 4.2.2 recognises that the statutory duty to manage structures in, on, under or over river and lake beds should avoid significant adverse effects on the relationship tangata whenua as kaitiaki have with their waahi tapu, native flora and fauna and access to customary fisheries.

Part i) of Objective 4.2.2 recognises that there are effects which may be smaller scale but which together adverse affecting identified taonga, such as waahi tapu, native flora and fauna and access to customary fisheries. These adverse effects are more easily remedied or mitigated as they occur, through resource consent conditions or non-regulatory methods such as education or incentives.

Module 2 Matters of Significance to Maori identifies the process by which Maori and Waikato Regional Council can work together to identify the ares of interest to Maori, in regard to the specific recourse, that will facilitate a greater awareness of these matters in the management of this resource.

The maintenance of existing legal public access to, along and across the beds and margins of lakes, rivers and wetlands is of importance in managing the Region’s water resource. Maintaining existing legal public access to active and passive recreational areas and places of cultural and historical interest is important. It is intended to promote public access to and along water bodies, however, it is recognised that there are instances when restriction of public access is necessary such as where safety, defence or security purposes require limits or where sensitive areas require protection.

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