Environment Southland’s first aerial compliance inspection of the winter grazing season has identified 21 potential sites of interest.
Environment Southland resource management manager Donna Ferguson said it is now following up on the sites, checking consents, and identifying if further action needs to be taken.
The flights, conducted on June 13, were an opportunity to see if the preparation observed during cultivation flights in late January was being followed by good practice, she said.
The flight was also the first aerial inspection since the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater rules around intensive winter grazing came into effect on May 1.
Staff looked for crops that had little or no buffering from waterways or were on steep slopes, and crops planted within critical source areas.
The sites identified for follow-up were a mixture of crops being grazed on what appeared to be critical source areas, and some with slope issues, Ferguson said.
Flights are planned for the start of each winter month and follow paths guided by known areas of concern and incidents reported, as well as locations noted during the cultivation flights.
“We will be undertaking further aerial and roadside monitoring, and responding to complaints through the winter grazing period. The roadside work is an extension this year to ensure we are checking more paddocks and reaching out to more farmers.”
According to the new rules, farmers who are unable to undertake intensive winter grazing as a permitted activity are required to have applied for either a resource consent or a deemed permitted activity.