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:
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:
Policy 3: Clearance of Vegetation
Permit the clearance of any plants in, on or under the bed of any lake or river that:
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 220.127.116.11, prepared to implement Policy 4, will be as follows:
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:
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 18.104.22.168. 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.