Forestry companies fined for sediment contamination

Two companies have been fined a total of $41,000 for causing sediment contamination of a Christchurch stream.

In sentencing notes released this month, Forest Management Ltd and Sharples Logging Ltd pleaded guilty in the district court for their parts in the unlawful discharge of sediment into the Hoon Hay Stream.

Environment Canterbury zone delivery lead Gillian Jenkins said Environment Canterbury will not hesitate to take enforcement action when individuals and companies fail to meet their obligations.

Managing water quality after the Port Hills fires

"The management of water quality is challenging in the aftermath of the Port Hills fires. Significant areas of the Port Hills have lost vegetative cover, exposing the soil to erosion. This will be an unfortunate legacy of the fires which will continue for many months, or possibly years, to come," said Mrs Jenkins.

"Managing sediment loss is especially challenging during the winter months when soils are saturated. Even small amounts of rainfall can result in loose soils being lost due to erosion. Compounding this, the lack of vegetation due to the fires on the hills makes it difficult to prevent it, which is why minimising it is key."

Environment Canterbury is working closely with land owners to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities for managing sediment loss and that appropriate measures are taken. “Alongside enforcement actions, we are investigating alternative approaches to assist education and behaviour change to reduce sediment entering waterways.  Our erosion and sediment control toolbox outlines best practice management techniques for helping to prevent erosion and sediment losses,” said Mrs Jenkins.

Focusing on the health of the Heathcote River

Sediment discharge to the Hoon Hay Stream

The Hoon Hay Stream feeds into the Cashmere Stream, and in turn to the Heathcote River. The $41,000 will be allocated to the Cashmere Stream Care Group who will work with Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council staff to determine the best use of money in the catchment.

"The health of the Heathcote, and its tributaries, is of major concern to the community.  We have been responding to a number of calls regarding the sediment in the stream, and are working closely with land and business owners who have activities which feed into these waterways, including Cashmere Estates and the Christchurch Adventure Park."

If anyone sees land management practices resulting in erosion, or causing concern in any way, please call Environment Canterbury's incident response line on 0800 765 588.