More than 136km of Bay of Plenty waterway margins have been protected from stock access in the past year, according to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

The council's Integrated Catchments Manager Chris Ingle said this had been done through riparian management partnerships between private landowners and the council.

"Riparian management programmes are just one of many tools we're using to protect and improve local water quality and river health. We had an annual target of 101km of waterway margin protection for the 2017/18 year and it's great to have exceeded that.

"The extra gains have mainly been in the Rangitāiki, Eastern Bay of Plenty, and Kaituna catchments where they were needed most," he said.

The council has also set new targets for improving swimmability in some of the region's most popular, but troubled, swimming spots, including Kaiate Falls and Ngongotahā Stream


"All the best practice methods for reducing E.coli bacteria levels in those places have already been tried so we're bringing in specialist expertise and exploring innovative new solutions to bring those locations up to swimmable standards."

Ingle said that everyone has a role to play in keeping rivers clean and healthy.

"Regional council offers practical advice, assistance, and funding subsidies of up to 50 per cent through its Riparian Management Programmes to encourage property owners to make changes on their land that will improve water quality.

"Our other river care work includes management of freshwater pests such as salvinia, an invasive aquatic weed, proactive pollution risk audits, and several large-scale wetland restoration projects that will also help to improve water quality and wildlife habitat," Ingle said.

Further information and access to updates about the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's work to care for the region's waterways is available here.