[5 October/ Radio New Zealand]

New research by AgResearch Invermay’s Environment Group reveals smaller streams account for the majority of contamination in waterways. The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Quality, discovered that streams less than 1 metre wide and 30cm deep in flat catchments dominated by pasture accounted for, on average, 77 percent of contamination loads a key finding showed. The report said not requiring fencing, which is New Zealand’s current policy for waterways of this size, may significantly dampen the country’s ability to improve water quality. AgResearch Principle Scientist Richard McDowell said fencing is often not financially viable in some areas, and so the report has provided up to 40 other mitigation suggestions including planting trees, developing wetlands, and different grazing techniques.