Farmers in Central Otago can expect a visit from Otago Regional Council (ORC) but they may not notice it.
ORC compliance manager Tami Sargeant said flyovers were expected to resume last week, depending on the weather and would cover most of rural Otago.
Photographs would be taken from the plane and ORC staff would then assess the images, she said.
They would be looking at farms, forests and waterways in general and land uses across slopes of more than 10 degrees, critical source areas, wetlands, gullies and fencing from waterways, as well as compliance with intensive winter grazing (IWG) consents.
Last year’s flyovers found there had been ‘‘a positive change’’ in IWG practices compared to previous years now that farmers were coming to understand the rules, which was a good outcome for the environment and Otago waterways, Mrs Sargeant said.
Assessments from flights earlier in the year were still being processed but in general compliance so far appeared to be improving on past years, and only a small number of farm visits was being prompted so far.
More than 275 IWG consents covering more than 27,500ha had been granted around Otago so far.
There had been a lot of new rules coming from central government and most farmers had good practices for IWG and on-farm activities to protect waterways, Mrs Sargeant said.
The ORC had run workshops and meetings with farmers and industry groups since the rules came in 2020.
After the flyovers staff would undertake site visits on highrisk sites to check compliance. The information would then be stored.
‘‘That means we have a record of those issues from earlier years and we can build a better picture of areas which may require other types of action in the future,’’ she said.