Fears forestry slash on council-owned land along the Maitai River could damage residential areas in a major storm has led to an investigation of harvesting rules.
A member of the public contacted Stuff with concerns that substantial amounts of slash (logging waste) had been left on hillsides close to the river near the Maitai Dam.
The local man, who didn’t want to be identified, said it “could be catastrophic to families along the Maitai” in a heavy rain event similar to the one that hit the region in December 2011.
If the scrap timber washed into the river, it had the potential to cause damage similar to that in Tolaga Bay in June, blocking up bridges downstream and flooding houses, he said.
A visit by Stuff to the site revealed cut logs among the forest debris on harvested slopes above the river.
The Nelson City Council said it would investigate the matter over the next month.
”Council is well aware of the issues forestry activity has caused around the country during high rainfall events and is committed to ensuring that all harvesting work is undertaken to best industry practice,” spokesman Paul Shattock said.
It would consider whether its forestry management company, PF Olsen, had followed logging rules, including new national environment standards which require forestry operators to place slash on stable ground.
PF Olsen declined to comment to Stuff.
Asked whether the council needed more funding to ensure compliance with rules around slash, group manager of environmental management Clare Barton said regular monitoring took place.
“It’s very helpful for the public to also assist as we can’t be everywhere at all times.”
The council’s 2018-2028 Long Term Plan had increased funding for monitoring of forestry practices, Barton said.
The council owns about 12 per cent of the forestry land in the Maitai and Brook catchments, and plans to retire more than a fifth of its total 640 ha of plantation forests.