With an economy and landscape defined by agriculture, we have to think hard about how to use our land in a more sustainable manner.
This theme in the proposed One Plan deals with the management of accelerated erosion. Our Region has the largest area of hill country of any region in New Zealand. When this land erodes the soil enters our rivers. It muddies them and reduces the capacity of the river to carry flood waters, increasing the flood risk to low lying communities. Horizons’ priority in the wake of the devastating 2004 storm is halting accelerated hill country erosion and its consequent effects on rivers and flood protection schemes.
Farms containing ‘Highly Erodible Land’ (HEL) are identified in the proposed One Plan. The Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI) is a key tool Horizons supports to manage HEL. It aims to inspire and implement a Region-wide move to sustainable land use practices. Uptake of SLUI is voluntary and has many benefits to the farmer, but those that choose not to develop a ‘Whole Farm Business Plan’ must comply with rules for vegetation clearance and earthworks to ensure they do not increase the risk of accelerated erosion.