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15.3.1 Soil Conservation

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There are some areas in the Lower Waikato Management Zone where additional erosion control works are considered appropriate. The requirement for new works has been identified by means of the estimation process for soil conservation discussed in section 8. Soil conservation proposals have focused on the steep hill country areas (particularly in selected upper catchment areas) where surface erosion is occurring in the forms of soil and earth slipping, and also in certain riparian areas.

It was proposed that 1,181 km of streambanks in the Lower Waikato Management Zone be treated. This riparian length includes 546 km of waterways that are either actively eroding or have high erosion potential, plus a further 635 km included for practical reasons.

Land use capability assessments for the zone show a total of 24,441 ha that can be classified for erosion risk potential as severe. It is estimated that five percent of this erosion has been treated. It was initially proposed to treat a further 15 percent of the severe hill country-type erosion. This would have taken the form of open pole planting, retirement of severely eroding land, and the regeneration of areas of indigenous vegetation.

The Subcommittee recommended a substantially reduced programme of works over the first three years to be promoted as a pilot programme. Council, however considered that the level of work proposed was not sufficient to meet even the highest priority needs of the zone. As a consequence it has added a further $90,000 to the capital programme spread over three years. The programme will be reviewed after three to five years.