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Excluding stock from smaller streams

September 2023

This factsheet is for farmers, industry bodies and regional authorities developing regional freshwater policy.

Most of the contaminant load in waterways across New Zealand originates from small, steeply sloping streams that, under national regulations, stock can access.

Under the Essential Freshwater stock exclusion regulations, cattle, deer and pigs must be excluded from waterways over 1m wide by certain dates (depending on stock type, slope and grazing intensity), and new fences to achieve this must be setback at least 3m.

Steeply sloping shallow streams 1m or less wide are exempt from these regulations.

Modelling indicates an average of 77% of the national contaminant load (nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, and E. coli) comes from exempt streams in flat catchments dominated by pasture.

Guidance prepared by Our Land and Water National Science Challenge

3550 KB | Adobe Acrobat PDF File

Source: Assessing the yield and load of contaminants with stream order: Would policy requiring livestock to be fenced out of high-order streams decrease catchment contaminant loads? DOI: 10.2134/jeq2017.05.0212
The longevity of fencing out livestock as a method of decreasing contaminant concentrations in a headwater stream. DOI: 10.1002/jeq2.20417

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