The Taranaki Regional Council has issued an abatement notice to a farmer after a herd of cows was grazing unrestricted near the banks of "particularly sensitive" stream near Waitara.
New Plymouth resident Emily Page said she came across the cows on the banks of Mangaoraka Stream after visiting a nearby beach with her daughters.
"I looked down at the river and I heard a cow hanging out on the water's edge so if they're there they could be pooing in it and they were breaking the whole bank."
Ms Page said there appeared to be no fencing along the streambank and a herd of about 80 cows had access to the stream.
She said it was disappointing in 2018 that a farmer would allow his cattle into a watercourse.
"There's so much knowledge that the farmers have to be looking after our ecosystem and especially our waterways and they obviously haven't got the memo or if they have they are ignoring it which is a whole other matter."
She reported the incident to the regional council.
Resource management director Fred McLay said a council officer investigated the complaint yesterday and council staff would be issuing an abatement notice requiring the landowner to take action to prevent stock entering the stream.
"The catchment is particularly sensitive and appropriate enforcement action will be taken to ensure the water quality is protected."
According to the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website the five year median for E-coli in the the Mangaoraka Stream is 1100 n/100ml making among the 25 percent worst performers of like sites. It's trend was recorded as declining.