Horizons' land management work focuses on reducing erosion, protecting soil health and encouraging sustainable use of our land resources. To carry out this work we lead and support a number of work programmes across the Region including the Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI).

All Regional Councils and Unitary Authorities across New Zealand contribute towards Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA). This is a national platfom where currently all of our water data feeds into, so the general public are able to access the status of each body of water around the country and compare the quality between different regions. In addition to viewing the status of water bodies, members of the public are also able to view information and data regarding water-related consents. LAWA originally held information regarding just rivers, which then expanded to include all water types and has recently expanded to include air quality information.
Why enter BFEA awards

2018 Ballance Farm Environment Awards

The 2018 Ballance Farm Environment Awards are now open for applications. If you're not sure why you should enter, watch the video above and hear from five previous entrants and their experiences. 

By entering the BFEA, farmer/growers are given the opportunity to have businesses evaluated by a team of highly respected and experienced farmers/ growers and agribusiness professionals who offer constructive advice and feedback in an informal setting.  Farmer/ grower visits are followed up by a report outlining what was discussed and offering commendations and recommendations.

The judges take a holistic approach to the judging process by evaluating every aspect of the farm/ grower business including environmental management, productivity and profitability through to family and community involvement.

Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI)

Over  half our Region’s land is classified as hill country and, in an economy defined by agriculture, it is vital to manage this land sustainably. Our Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI) takes a 'mountains to the sea' approach to protecting our valuable hill country soils where they are at risk of moderate to severe erosion. By keeping this soil on our hills and out of our waterways we can enhance water quality and increase productivity.

SLUI uses a variety of tools, but the programme is based around the development of Whole Farm Plans (WFPs) with individual farmers. These plans are voluntary and once developed are followed up with a works and incentive programme aimed at reducing erosion. If you are interested in learning more about WFPs, please see our SLUI fact sheet.

Everyone in Horizons' Region benefits from SLUI either through increased flood protection, better water quality, or protection of hill country and native habitats. For this reason all ratepayers pay a Uniform Annual Charge to fund the programme. Central Government also contributes.

Industry partnerships

We recognise the need to work alongside others involved in the farming industry to develop sustainable land use.

We support the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, Poplar and Willow Research Trust , forestry industry research, Beef & Lamb programmes and various Sustainable Farming Fund programmes.

Please click on the links above for more information about these organisations.

Whanganui Catchment Strategy (WCS)

Since 1997, we have been working in the Whanganui catchment with a specific focus on erosion and sustainable land use in the upper catchment. Since 2006, we have been fortunate to have a funding relationship with the Whanganui River Enhancement Trust (WRET) who provides funding to farmers, via Horizons, for environmental work programmes. If you have property in the Whanganui catchment and are interested in learning more please contact us.


A major part of the environmental work programme in hill country is the planting of poplar and willow poles for erosion control. As well as reducing erosion, these trees provide shade, shelter and drought fodder. We source appropriate pole material for farmers from a mix of our own and commercial nurseries throughout the Region and can provide grants to establish these poles for erosion control. For information on pole plantings see the factsheets below.

Land in the One Plan

The One Plan is a consolidated Regional Resources Plan which combines all of our previous plans into one. It generally allows cultivation, forestry, land disturbance and vegetation clearance as a permitted activity provided certain standards are met.

If cultivation, vegetation clearance or land disturbance is taking place on land with a slope over 20 degrees, resource consent will be needed. However, the consent process is simple with our friendly Land Management Officers (LMOs) able to complete infield consents. The consent is also at no cost provided the risk of sediment getting into water or wetlands is low. Further information about the consent process can be found in the factsheet below.


Who's your local EMO?


Find the names and contact details of your local Environmental Management Officer (Soil).

EMO Boundaries Map


Use this map to check the boundaries of where your local EMO covers.

Whole Farm Plans


Tunnel Gully Erosion


Growing Poplars


Stopbank Grazing Guidelines


Vegetation Clearance




Land Disturbance