Thank you for all the responses to TRM Daily Report yesterday:
From a North Island angler
1 Yeah Gidday,
Nothing political about caring for the environment at all.
Wouldn’t matter which party is in power, if they’re not doing their job, they get trounced.
If we don’t make a stand (as per the Carp Farm) and make our views and concerns known, then the destruction will simply proceed at a faster pace.
Good on ya mate!
A fair ripper of a report in my opinion.
2 From a West Island angler:
Great composition Ross,for all our sakes, keep it going!
5 Ditto… etc.
But we have to repeat this one…
Hi Ross, a thought regarding critics of lack of fishing information on your site,
I suggest a generic fishing report which you can use every day to please the critics. Put it on top of your web page..
Along the lines of “If it’s wet and clean there will be plenty of fish for the numbers people, and a big trophy for the trophy angler. Somewhere.
They are there. Somewhere. What more do you want, a ghillie?
Read your license and have a go.” unquote.
Applies N.Z. wide.
No doubt in your inimitable manner you will put it more politely.
Don’t forget 99.999% of Turangi anglers love what they do, treasure Turangi, have great camaraderie, and feel blessed for the opportunity. And enjoy your work.
And if a N.I. angler want something to grizzle about come to Canterbury and try dry fishing our rivers. And I do mean “dry”.
We now have a closed winter season around our river mouths due to the pollution etc.
I commend to your readers.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/79201011/canterburys-poisonous-lake-forsyth-kills-sheep-full-of-green-slime (Repeated below)
On irrigators, one growth industry in Selwyn District is driving domestic water wells lower as they are running dry. Some have been down for decades with no problems before dairying irrigators used deep well pumps.
The angler’s reports you post are a great guide to where and when is best around Turangi. No need for anything else.
With that out of the way, there are very few magazines or blogs who tell it like it really is, no advertising affiliations, etc. so soldier on, don’t despair, and we might keep them honest.
Even though the Minister of Conservation refers to us as “ conspiracy theorists”.
Keep up the good work,
Illegitimi non carborundum ***
Sunbeam. (Fishing Turangi for over 40 years)
Name withheld to protect the innocent.
( It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.)
*** For well bred uneducated Tongariro angling TRM inmates – a translation:
“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”.
Canterbury’s poisonous Lake Forsyth kills sheep, full of green slime
Last updated April 27 2016
Lake Forsyth on the Banks Peninsula is green with toxic slime.
Locals say that after several years of improvement, the water in Lake Forsyth on the Banks Peninsula has deteriorated after a run of dry weather.
For the last few months, large parts of the lake have been green, with toxic green slime seeping onto its shores.
Signs warn that the water is dangerous for humans and animals.
Several weeks ago, a farmer lost around 30 sheep after they died drinking water from the lake.
“It’s in a very bad state this year, which is actually quite surprising. The quality of the lake has been improving for the last five years,” said Banks Peninsula zone committee chair Steve Lowndes.
“This year, it’s gone backwards.”
He had lost a cat and a dog because of the lake’s water over the years, he said.
While there was signage declaring the water unsafe, visiting campers may miss the warnings, he said.
“It’s toxic. It kills people’s pets, and if humans get into it, they can be made to feel very sick… as it is, it’s a health hazard.”
“With climate change and sea level rise and all sorts of things, you have to think the lake is in trouble.”
The state of Lake Forsyth shows the difficulty of revitalising some of Canterbury’s unhealthy lakes, which has been the focus of Environment Canterbury (ECan+) and other community groups in recent years.
The larger and more high-profile lake nearby, Lake Ellesmere, is undergoing its own recovery expected to take generations.
Lowndes said the zone committee had tried to improve Lake Forsyth’s quality – it wanted to create a sediment trap and wetlands at the mouth of the lake – but acknowledged it may never recover.
The main culprit was the phosphorous-rich soil on the bed of the shallow, brackish lake. Erosion of nearby river banks had caused further soil to enter the water, creating an ideal environment for toxic algae.
Blooms occurred routinely, but the latest bloom was particularly severe.
A public health warning issued in January, which warned that blooms of blue-green algae posed a risk to both animals and humans, is still in place.
ECan surface water science manager Tim Davie said the Christchurch City Council had been working with the Wairewa runanga to improve the lake’s water quality.
It did so by maintaining high water levels, which allowed plants to grow, he said.
“[T]his year the very dry spring meant that the lake has remained low, aquatic plants did not grow well in the lake and we have a seen a severe cyanobacterial bloom,” he said.
The Wairewa sub-regional plan, which had hearings last week, would introduce new policies and rules to reduce sediment going into the lake, he said.
They included rules around fencing-off stock from rivers and streams to reduce bank erosion, and introducing minimum flows in nearby rivers.
Trophic level index scores, used to measure the health of lakes, show a trend of improved quality in the lake in the last five years.
Latest testing, however, shows it had dipped from previous years.
Iwi Ngai Tahu has customary title over the lake, meaning only members of the iwi can fish for tuna (eel), recognising the lake’s importance as a food source to local Maori.
Forsyth is one of two customary lakes in New Zealand, and the only one in the South Island.
The Wairewa rununga is actively involved in managing the lake. It was unable to comment on Tuesday.
The water debate needs some light shed on it
Only the 1080 debate can rival the water ownership question for entrenched opinion, grandstanding and orchestrated misinformation.
While the Government trots out the standard cliché that “no one owns water”, the difference between that official position and the reality of commercial exploitation is vast. Today’s regional councils, and a range of local authorities before them, have been allocating water for domestic use, agriculture and industry in various parts of the country for more than half a century. However, questions are now being asked about the acceptability of commercial extraction of freshwater as a tradeable commodity.
There are, at present, about 70 water bottling companies providing water to both New Zealand and a growing export market. These companies don’t buy the water, as our regional councils are not authorised to sell it, but they onsell it at significant profit.
The same applies to irrigation companies which take water from rivers or aquifers without charge under a range of consent conditions imposed by regional councils and provide it a cost to surrounding farmers. These companies also make significant profits.
The law does not allow regional councils to place meaningful constraints on the extraction and commercial exploitation of freshwater and, in the case of the Government-appointed Canterbury Regional Council, there appears to be a ministerial expectation – if not an actual instruction – to facilitate as much water extraction for agriculture as possible.
It is hard to argue against increased and improved agricultural production, but that production comes at a hard-to-calculate cost to the rest of the community. That cost includes the impact of nutrient runoff in the environment as well as a reduced quantity and quality of water in once-clean rivers.
Adding to the complexity and heat of the argument is the lack of reliable information on the demands of Maori. A Waitangi Tribunal ruling in 2012, that Maori have traditional rights and interests in water guaranteed by the Treaty of Waitangi, created ill-informed outrage among those who never took the time to find out exactly what the finding means.
When considering the Maori claim, the tribunal found that those rights were equivalent to ownership under the Treaty and that there was an expectation the water would be shared with Pakeha settlers. The tribunal’s recommendations are not binding on the government and can be ignored.
There are important legal issues attached to Maori claims to water ownership.
The first is the guarantees given to Maori in Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi which says, in both Maori and English, that Maori could retain everything they owned unless they were willing to part with it. This was not a unique or particularly radical promise, but was an assurance that existing property rights would be honoured and that the Crown would not assume ownership of anything. That right has existed in British law since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215.
When the first Europeans arrived in the late 1700s, two of the first commodities they traded for with Maori for were firewood and fresh water, for which they paid trinkets, steel tools and, later, muskets. Ownership was clearly recognised and accepted by both parties to those transactions.
Irrigation companies can be said to own the water they take for free from rivers or aquifers and onsell to farmers. They can keep that water if they choose or trade it for shares in the company or in almost any way that suits both parties. Bottled water in supermarkets is obviously owned for the purpose of sale; ownership is clearly established.
While the Government claims that the water rights do not confer actual ownership of water, the question falls into the same category as the rights of high country leaseholders who don’t hold title to the land but have all the rights of owners in fee simple. Like water, it is ownership in everything but name.
The most important consideration is the difference between common or communal ownership of natural resources and commercial exploitation and how those differences impact on the rest of the community.
It is safe to assume that freshwater, which can be claimed as belonging to Maori and the wider community equally, is an unowned communal resource unless it is used for commercial exploitation. At that point, the community, including Maori, should demand recognition of their rights, way of payment, and meaningful restraints.
Farmer understanding of water quality at odds with regional plan
May 3 2016
Farmer understanding of the issues of water quality is at odds with the scientific models in the regional plan, says Lincoln University lecturer in water management Ronlyn Duncan.
Duncan argues the difference affects the laying down of good management and, beyond that, achieving farmer compliance with the regional plan.
Managing water quality must also involve understanding people, Duncan says.
“A lot of policies around water quality are directed at farmers. There are assumptions made about farmers – what they should and shouldn’t do – there’s a lot of politics around that. Some of the assumptions are that farmers are deliberately polluting waterways. But I don’t think vilifying farmers is the solution.”
Duncan carried out interviews with 20 farmers in and around the Culverden basin, North Canterbury. All owned irrigated properties, either dairy, sheep and beef or arable.
In general, the farmers understood the issues of concern for water quality in terms of nitrogen and phosphorus, Duncan says. Some farmers talked about pathogens and sediments. All were adamant they wanted good water quality and didn’t want to contribute to rivers being in poor condition.
None objected to limits being set by the regional plan so long as they were fair and reasonable, did not affect economic viability and profitability and were carried out with sufficient transition times.
There was also plenty of agreement that they were responding by fencing stock from waterways, managing effluent, using Overseer, doing nutrient budgets, improving fertiliser application and planting trees. Many spoke of these as if they had been part of their farming for some time. However the dairy farmers felt a tail-end minority were letting the side down and some believed that water quality breaches went hand in hand with staffing issues. They had a ‘gut feeling’ if a farm was managed badly.
All the farmers seemed to have an intimate understanding of their soils. Many talked about recreation in the local rivers, and that signs of water quality problems were few. Some wondered why people living in cities with degraded rivers should expect rivers in agricultural areas to be pristine. Some farmers – particularly dairy – were at a loss to understand the prospect of governments imposing strict regulations that appeared to them to disadvantage their business.
When asked what their contribution to nutrients in rivers was, they consistently said “minimal.”
“Several were using Overseer and knew their leaching rates while other referred to their nutrient budgets and were confident they weren’t wasting any fertiliser as this was throwing away money. One farmer equated fertiliser use with productivity and because productivity was increasing, suggested that nutrient leaching was incongruous,” Duncan says.
“Farmers seemed to think their responsibility was mediated by physical things, for example the distance from the river, depth of topsoil, not a dairy farm, low rainfall area.
“Maybe they lacked an understanding of the movement of nutrients via surface water or groundwater into waterways,” she says. “They take moderate responsibility seeing water quality problems as dependent on a range of variable factors such as weather. ”
In contrast to how farmers see the land and water relationship, science policy frames this and farmers responsibility to it, as direct and unimpeded, Duncan says.
“It also shows that farmers are trying to grapple with the science which can be counter-intuitive at the local scale. They are not trying to dismiss it. “
Kirsty Blackstock of the James Hutton Institute UK thinks well reasoned, data-based and logical messages should be effective in persuading farmers to adopt preventative measures or best management practice, so long as farmers are convinced there is a problem and that their actions can solve it. However, there is not always agreement that a problem exists or that farmers bear some responsibility for it. Too many water management interventions proceed as if diffuse pollution from agriculture is an understood and accepted pressure rather than taking the time to discuss this with their farming partners.
Duncan’s research highlights the extent to which conceptions of the problem are out of sync. Farmers see the problem as temporary and based upon a range of highly variable factors and its effects influenced and impeded by a number of equally unknowable circumstances. In contrast, the regional council conceives this relationship as ever present if not visible, and a matter of cause and effect. In other words, the relationship is assumed to be ultimately direct and unimpeded.
Duncan says the research is backed by internationally recognised theories of knowledge that are critical of how science communication can be ‘you are wrong, science is right.’ This is alienating, she says.
“The local understanding and local knowledge of farmers and the local scale are very important to consider. It is about how we can increase our chances of engaging with farmers and come up with workable solutions rather than solutions that are unworkable or misdirected. It’s not a matter of trying to blame farmers or force messages onto them which seems to be the current approach.”
While easily dismissed as farmers lack recognition of the effects they have or misunderstanding of science, how farmers frame the water quality problem must be recognised. This is an important starting point for working with them in introducing new policies and rules and good management. Ultimately farmers need to be a large part of the water quality solution. A fundamental step is to increase policy maker understanding of farmers, says Duncan.