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  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Waikato Regional Plan » Waikato Regional Plan (online version) » 4.3 River and Lake Bed Disturbances » 4.3.3 Policies

4.3.3 Policies

Policy 1: Bed and Bank Alterations and Extraction of Sand, Gravel and Other Bed Material
Ensure that the physical alteration of the river bed and banks including the extraction of sand, gravel and other material in, on or under the bed of a river or lake:

  1. does not result in loss of adjacent land, or
  2. does not degrade water quality and aquatic ecosystems in a manner that is inconsistent with policies in Section 3.2.3, or
  3. does not result in the accelerated infilling of estuaries, harbours and wetlands1 that are areas of significant indigenous vegetation and/or significant habitats of indigenous fauna, or
  4. does not obstruct fish passage, or
  5. does not significantly adversely affect bed and channel stability, except in those instances where the disturbance will provide environmental benefits, or
  6. does not result in an increase in the adverse effects of flooding on neighbouring properties, or
  7. does not affect the integrity of existing lawfully established structures or drainage districts and river control scheme areas, or
  8. avoids significant adverse effects on the relationship tangata whenua as kaitiaki have with river and lake beds, or
  9. does not degrade natural character in a manner that is inconsistent with Policy 6 in Section 4.3.3
  10. does not obstruct existing legal public access where appropriate.

Policy 2: Introduction of Vegetation
Ensure that the deliberate introduction or planting of plants in, on or under the bed or bank of any river of lake and the ongoing maintenance of such plantings:

  1. does not result in the introduction of aquatic plant pests as noted in Waikato Regional Council’s Regional Pest Management Strategy, or
  2. does not result in an increase in the adverse effects of flooding on neighbouring properties, or
  3. does not cause or accentuate bed and bank erosion, or
  4. does not overgrow, invade, smother, replace, or damage desirable species* already present in areas adjacent to, and downstream from, where the plants are introduced.

Policy 3: Clearance of Vegetation
Permit the clearance of any plants in, on or under the bed of any lake or river that:

  1. is not inconsistent with the objectives and policies in Chapter 3.2
  2. does not result in an increase in the adverse effects of flooding on neighbouring properties
  3. does not cause or accentuate erosion of the beds or banks of rivers or lakes
  4. does not redirect the flow of water in a water body, creating erosion

and restrict the disturbance, removal, damage or destruction of any plants (excluding plant pests) in, on or under the bed of any lake or river in Natural State Water Body as identified in Water Management Class Maps of this Plan and wetlands2 that are areas of significant indigenous vegetation and/or significant habitats of indigenous fauna.

Policy 4: Livestock Access to Water Bodies
Use a mixture of non-regulatory methods (including education and incentives) and rules to manage the adverse effects of livestock access to water bodies.

Policy 5: Enforcement of Livestock Access to Water Bodies Rule
Waikato Regional Council’s approach to enforcing Rule 4.3.5.4, prepared to implement Policy 4, will be as follows:

  1. For one-off or minor non-compliance with the Rule, Waikato Regional Council will work with the resource user to avoid future non-compliance.
  2. Where adverse effects of livestock access to water bodies are significant and ongoing, Waikato Regional Council will take enforcement action unless there is an agreed programme of work to exclude livestock access to water bodies being implemented.

Policy 6: Natural Character
Recognise, and where relevant provide for, the following characteristics when considering the preservation of the natural character of river and lake beds and their margins and the protection of them from the inappropriate disturbance of river and lake beds:

  1. Diversity and composition of aquatic and riparian habitat.
  2. Topography and physical composition of river and lake beds and the course of the river.
  3. The natural flow characteristics and hydraulic processes (such as sediment transport) of rivers and streams or the pattern and range of water level fluctuations that occur naturally in rivers and lakes.
  4. Any significant natural features of the bed or banks.

Policy 7: Positive Benefits of Resource Use
Recognise the positive benefits that can arise from the use, development and protection of river and lake beds whilst ensuring that any adverse effects are controlled in accordance with Policies 1 and 2 of this Chapter.

 

Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting the Policies
The approach adopted in Policy 1 in Section 4.3.3 is to ensure that physical alteration of river and lake beds do not result in significant adverse effects as listed in the objective. This Policy will be implemented by ensuring that only activities that do not cause the significant adverse effects listed are permitted and those activities that may result in these effects will require resource consents.

Section 13(1)(c) of the RMA requires a resource consent for the introduction or planting of any plant in, on or under the bed unless the activity is allowed by a rule in a regional plan. Policy 2 of Section 4.3.3 addresses parts h), i) and j) of Objective 4.3.2 and allows the introduction and planting of desirable species without undue restrictions as long as the adverse effects listed in parts a) to d) of the policy do not occur. Part of the purpose of this policy is to support and provide a link to the Waikato Regional Pest Management Strategy.

The purpose of Policy 3 of Section 4.3.3 is to implement objectives linked to Issue 3 by controlling the removal or disturbance of vegetation (excluding plant pests) in or on the beds of Natural State water bodies and wetland habitat for indigenous vegetation or fauna communities. It is recognised that in some circumstances vegetation removal may be necessary, for example where there are plant pests or to prevent or mitigate flooding or damage to infrastructure or assets. This policy does not prevent vegetation removal for drain maintenance or flood control purposes.

Policy 4 in Section 4.3.3 promotes the appropriate revegetation of river and lake banks across the Region to assist with maintaining bank stability and preventing the loss of adjacent land. The revegetation of banks can also assist in providing aquatic habitat and assist in maintaining and enhancing water quality. Policy 4 states how parts a), b) and k) of Objective 4.3.2 will be achieved. This policy addresses livestock access to water bodies in order to avoid adverse environmental effects. Livestock in water bodies can cause erosion of the beds and banks, channel widening, deepening and shallowing by trampling of the beds and banks, and water quality problems due to direct effluent inputs and sediment disturbances. Livestock access in combination with other activities also contributes to a significant cumulative decline in aquatic habitat quality throughout the Region.

Policy 5 states how Waikato Regional Council will enforce Rule 4.3.5.4. In the first instance, for one-off or minor non-compliance, Waikato Regional Council is seeking a co-operative approach with landowners to avoid future adverse effects. Where there is deliberate ongoing noncompliance and adverse effects continue to occur enforcement action will be taken unless there is an agreed programme of work to exclude livestock access to water bodies being implemented.

Policy 6 in Section 4.3.3 implements part g) of Objective 4.3.2 and recognises that natural character is a set of interdependent qualities that together give an area its recognisable character and this will vary widely throughout the Region. Policy 6 sets out the key aspects of natural character of a water body that will be considered in the First Schedule process of regional district plan preparation and changes, as well as in the consideration of any relevant consent application that affects water bodies and their margins.

Policy 7 recognises that disturbances of the beds of rivers or lakes can and do have benefits for the community’s social, cultural and economic wellbeing. This policy is necessary to achieve the direction in Section 1.2.3 Objective 3.

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