An alert member of the WBRA spotted numerous dead eels at the mouth of the Waiorongomai Stream at the south end of Waikawa Beach. He alerted us, but also went directly to the Greater Wellington Council, as it’s in their district. Daan said on 16 March 2021:
Last weekend we walked as usual on the beach in the direction of Otaki. In the stream that flows from the lakes to the sea, we noticed a large number of dead eels. From the outside, there appeared no damage to the animals (other than being picked at by gulls) which makes one think of (agricultural) poisoning.
Eels not surviving is not a good sign, as typically these animals can deal with pretty poor water quality before dying.
I have informed the Greater Wellington Council, who have assigned their duty officer Nicola Fenn to the case.
Nicola Fenn soon replied:
Yesterday I attended the stream mouth and have found … that the cause of the eel death is because fish passage does not exist due to the invasive bamboo as well as flood debris within the river mouth. Eels essentially became stranded on the beach and perished.
Since, we have contacted Iwi, our Pest Plant Control, GWRC Land Management and Flood protection about getting the consents necessary to get the mouth cleared as well as control of the invasive plants including the black seeded grass within the channel.
Thanks for notifying us and hopefully we will be able to get the stream managed with the bamboo and beach debris cleared with a management plan for future maintenance to be carried out.
Thanks Daan, for notifying us, and for taking action to help protect the eels.