Tuesday, 24 May 2022 14:55

Surveillance flights take off in Otago

Written by  Staff Reporters
Otago Regional Council will take to the skies to detect waterway pollution as winter grazing season kicks off. Otago Regional Council will take to the skies to detect waterway pollution as winter grazing season kicks off.

The Otago Regional Council’s (ORC) annual flyover programme to detect any waterway pollution kicks off this month as the Council reminds farmers to consider consent applications.

ORC general manager regulatory and communications Richard Saunders says the Council undertakes flights every year to gain a bird’s eye view of land use in the region and identify any potential risks to water quality.

Three sets of flyovers will take place this season, covering North Otago, Southwest Otago and Central Otago, beginning in late May, then late-June to early-July and in August.

“A number of high-risk sites were identified last season and were followed up with farm visits to “ground truth” the aerial observations,” says Saunders.

He says overall compliance activity in 2021 showed farmers had taken positive steps to plan and undertake winter grazing activities.

“This season we’ll be taking note of any high-risk sites and will be visiting the area to inspect issues on the ground.”

Saunders says if any non-compliance issues are found, the ORC response can range from offering education and advice to the farmers, through to enforcement notices or prosecution.

He encourages anyone with questions about intensive winter grazing rules to contact the Council as soon as possible.

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