Walking the river to help the fish and whitebait

There’s a bit of attention being paid to the Waikawa Stream at the moment. On Tuesday 15 December 2020 this team from Horizons Regional Council took a look at our river. They found a weir which will need to be cleared away:

In the five months since receiving Jobs for Nature funding, Horizons Regional Council has employed a team of eight people who will open up 1,250 kilometres of habitat for migratory fish. …

“This will increase native fish numbers and distribution, improve aquatic habitat, and increase kākahi (freshwater mussel) populations,” …

“Ensuring fish can get up and down streams and rivers as part of their natural lifecycle contributes to Te Mana o Te Wai, the life-supporting capacity of water, ” said Martin Workman, Acting Deputy Secretary for Sustainable Land Use at Ministry for the Environment. …

In early November, Horizons successfully employed eight tertiary educated people who, following an induction that included swift water and electric fishing training, and have gotten straight to work.

“This work is important as many of the region’s waterways have lower native fish diversity and numbers than predicted. We know one of the key factors impacting the distribution and population of native fish is barriers to their migration,”

“Indigenous fish such as tuna (eels) and īnanga (whitebait) need to be able to move up and down freshwater habitats to access feeding and spawning environments and maintain healthy populations. Structures such as culverts, dams, weirs, fords and tide gates can delay or prevent fish movement and stop them from accessing these critical habitats,” said Mr Brown. …

Much of this work is done on foot, with the team walking up and down streams to record fish populations and assessing and removing potential barriers.

Source: Jobs for Nature fish passage project well underway – Horizons Regional Council.

Update: watch a brief video about the project.

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