Hear from Selwyn Waihora Zone Delivery Lead Gill Jenkins, as she talks about sediment and stormwater in the zone and updates us on one of the many local projects underway.
Selwyn Waihora’s waterways have many precious species including kōwaro (Canterbury mudfish), tuna (eel) and pātiki (flounder), and it’s important to protect and enhance the waterways they live in.
Sediment is fine particles of soil that when it rains, flows through stormwater drains or down hillsides, into streams and rivers.
Stopping sediment from entering waterways is crucial, as sediment smothers fish habitat, makes it hard for them to see their food, and once it’s in the waterway, is extremely difficult to remove.
Sediment during development
In the Selwyn Waihora zone, earthworks near waterways and land developments pose some of the biggest risks when it comes to sediment in waterways.
Construction companies, land developers and their contractors have an obligation to make sure they mitigate the risk of sediment getting into waterways.
We have an online toolbox with tips and tricks to make sure sites are prepared to handle any rain events and keep sediment on-site and out of streams.
The toolbox can be found at esccanterbury.co.nz but we welcome anyone who would like advice or assistance in this space to get in touch online or by calling 0800 324 636 – we’re here to help!
We monitor areas that are deemed high-risk sediment sites, but we do rely heavily on the public to help us understand where sediment is coming from – during a rain is the best time to see where sediment is coming from both in urban and rural areas.
If you see sediment or erosion issues during heavy rains, or at building/construction sites, call our incident response hotline on 0800 765 588. Once we know where it is, we can investigate and work with those managing the site to improve their practice.
Knowingly allowing sediment to runoff into waterways can sometimes result in fines for those responsible.
Water quality data gathering project
On another note, our land management advisors are currently working with local landowners in the Silverstream catchment to gather data that will inform methods to improve water quality in the catchment.
This work is helping to identify the path of E.coli and what actions we, and adjacent landowners could take that might improve freshwater outcomes.
This approach is complex, will take time, and could not be done without the willingness of landowners to work with us. We really appreciate the community coming together to support and assist this work. We hope that the data we collect will help us all collectively improve water quality.
I’m excited to see the results we find and the actions that arise from those results. We’ll keep you updated through my column and other Environment Canterbury channels – so watch this space!
Lastly, I’d like to extend my thanks to the farmers and landowners involved in this project for keeping us informed about their different farming methods, stock rates and being proactive and enthusiastic about finding the issue and solving it. Thank you for working together with us.