A Minute with Marco - December

Read Marco's latest column about safe swimming and boating and the latest biodiversity projects.

Kia ora,

Another year has flown by, and for many, our thoughts are now turning to the long-awaited holiday period. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be looking forward to swapping shoes for jandals, firing up the barbie, and getting together with friends and family. Bring on the sunshine!

Can I swim here? 

On those scorching hot days, there’s nothing like cooling off in a nearby river or beach. But before you do, it pays to take a moment to check there are no health warnings for toxic algae or harmful bacteria at the location you're heading to.

Environment Canterbury monitors more than 100 swimming sites across the region. This information helps inform the LAWA Can I Swim Here? website. It's easy to use and tells you whether an area is safe to swim in or not.

For instance, a quick glance at the Kaikōura area shows that popular swimming spots including Gooches Beach and Peketā Beach have "Good" long-term grades. Kahutara River at State Highway 1 is deemed "Fair". Weekly testing results are also displayed.

It's also a good idea to make sure you know what toxic algae looks like. These thick, dark-coloured mats can be particularly dangerous for dogs. If you're in any doubt about water quality, keep them out!

Safer boating

When it comes to boating, once again, a little prep beforehand can save a lot of hassle (and sometimes heartache) in the long run.

Lifejackets are a breeze to wear, so there's no excuse for not popping one on and ensuring everyone else on board has one too.

Kaikōura is very popular for diving around the coast. Keep yourself safe while diving by displaying a dive flag, diving clear of busy boating channels, and launching spots and always slow to under 5 knots within 50m of a dive flag.

Safer boating tips:

Key northern projects

As we hurtle towards the new year, I've enjoyed taking a moment to reflect on some of the terrific mahi in the Kaikōura district over 2023.

At November's zone committee meeting, staff from Environment Canterbury provided an update on key work over recent months.

Projects include:

  • Plant maintenance across eight locations around lower Inland Road, the Kaikōura Flats and West End involving approx. 3,750 plants.
  • Additional planting in the Middle Creek catchment across three locations.
  • The development of satellite nurseries as part of the Soil Conservation and Revegetation project (SCAR project), enabling farmers to grow their own poplar and willow poles.
  • Waiau Toa/Clarence River weed management: planning, surveillance, botanical surveys and contract management

  • Surveys of karoro/southern black-backed gulls, tara/white-fronted terns, tarāpunga/red-billed gulls, tarāpuka/black-billed gulls and tarapirohe/black-fronted terns.

These are all valuable projects that we’ll talk more about in the coming months.

Until then, I wish you a restful, happy and safe festive season.

Here's to 2024!