Hawke's Bay Regional Council has rejected the idea of banning dairy farming in an area linked to contamination of the Mohaka river.
But it has confirmed that it will develop regulations to limit the impact of farming in the catchment of the Taharua river, which empties into the upper Mohaka on the Central Plateau.
Strategic development manager Helen Codlin says monitoring has shown that land use changes in the catchment, from scrub and forestry to sheep and cattle farming and then dairying, have contributed to more nutrient leaching into the rivers.
As a first step, the council will set up an expanded Taharua catchment stakeholder group, which will include farming and Fish & Game representatives.
Ms Codlin says land use practices can be changed straight away, but developing a new policy and regulatory framework will take several years.