Policy 1: Control Land Drainage in Areas Adjacent to Identified Wetlands and Within Wetlands
Ensure that land drainage activities within wetlands that are areas of significant indigenous vegetation and/or significant habitats of indigenous fauna1, or immediately adjacent to wetlands identified in Section 3.7.7, are undertaken in a manner that avoids changes in water level that lead to:
and remedy or mitigate otherwise.
Policy 2: Non-Regulatory Methods
Use a mixture of non-regulatory methods (including education and incentives) to achieve an increase in the extent and quality of the Region’s wetlands.
Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting the Policies
The Region’s wetlands containing regionally and internationally significant areas that are highly valued for their conservation and natural values. For these reasons Waikato Regional Council considers it appropriate to protect wetlands.
Under s68(1)(a) of the RMA, Waikato Regional Council cannot write regional rules for the purpose of protecting areas of regional significance. However, where significant areas have been identified, Waikato Regional Council is able to develop regional rules that restrict diversion of water within or immediately adjacent to them. This is because one of the greatest threats to wetlands is from land drainage. It is through this mechanism that Waikato Regional Council will assist in the protection of wetlands as indicated by Policy 1 and Section 3.7.3.
The wetlands listed for the purpose of restricting drainage in adjacent areas, are selected on the basis that they are legally protected and have clearly defined boundaries. They are also the wetlands that are most likely to be affected by adjacent drainage activities. The Kopouatai and Torehape Peat Domes and the Whangamarino Wetland have been identified in the Waikato Conservancy Conservation Management Strategy (1996), as being areas requiring protection. These areas also meet the requirements of criterion 1 (Indigenous vegetation or habitat that has been specifically set aside by statute or covenant for protection and preservation) in Appendix 3: Criteria for Determining Significant Indigenous Vegetation and Significant Habitats of Indigenous Fauna in the Waikato RPS.
It is acknowledged that the list in Section 3.7.7 does not represent all the wetlands in the Waikato Region threatened by adjacent drainage. It is considered to be a starting point from which Waikato Regional Council can assist in the protection of the Region’s wetlands. This list may be added to through reviews of this Plan.
The purpose of Policy 2 is to indicate that Waikato Regional Council will use a number of nonregulatory methods to achieve an increase in the extent and quality of the Region’s wetlands. Non-regulatory methods can achieve the objective in a number of ways including educating people about wetlands, thereby encouraging them to protect these areas by providing additional financial resource with which to undertake protection. This policy approach focuses on all wetlands and also seeks ways of promoting the creation/remediation of wetlands and having a co-ordinated inter-agency approach to the management of these areas.