A Minute with Marco – October

Welcome back to Kaikōura and Hurunui Waiau Uwha zone delivery lead Marco Cataloni's column.

Kia ora.

Since we last spoke, I have been over to Europe and back, enjoying visiting family for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions were in place. Getting acclimatised back to New Zealand weather was certainly an adjustment but thankfully things are starting to warm up here now.

Fish passage work in Middle Creek 

One piece of mahi I wanted to highlight is the fish habitat work underway in Middle Creek/Te Wai o Pātiki, Kaikōura. A fish ladder has been planned for the creek at the Mount Fyffe Road bridge for some time, but there have been delays in its implementation due to wet weather over the previous summers. We are hopeful this summer will see the completion of this work.   

The ladder aims to give species such as īnanga (which are poor climbers) and torrentfish access to an upper catchment which they currently cannot reach. There’s huge value to the catchment in creating this passage as it will provide more adult habitat for fish, some of which are at risk or threatened.

A recent survey of Middle Creek completed this month found healthy populations of native fish species in the lower reaches of the stream. Re-establishing fish passage will allow the likes of redfin bully, bluegill bully, torrentfish, īnanga, kōaro and shortfin and longfin tuna to occur in greater numbers throughout the catchment. The survey also confirmed the presence of kanakana/pouched lamprey in Middle Creek. There have been numerous sightings of kanakana in recent years, with one even being caught in a whitebait net (and released) by some interested locals. 

We will continue working with our Rivers and Surface Water Science teams to survey to determine what species are present and where. 

We would love to be able to confirm the presence of giant kōkopu which are suspected to be within the creek, given the findings of the environmental DNA work we did with the Department of Conservation last year. There is one confirmed giant kōkopu site in the entire region (close to the mouth of the Orari River), so it would be exciting to locate the fish in Middle Creek. Of course, we will update you on any interesting findings if they arise.

Snap Send Solve

Finally, I wanted to talk a bit about our Snap Send Solve app. This is a really handy tool the public can use to report issues, such as pollution events like illegal dumping on riverbeds – which is one of the many reports we get. Environment Canterbury receives around 5,000 reports each year relating to environmental incidents that pose potential threats to the quality of air, land, or water. We rely on information from the public, which can be submitted via phone, email, or by using the app. 
We triage incidents as they come in. Urgent incidents involving contaminants in waterways should be notified to us immediately by calling us on 0800 765 588 (24 hours). Non-urgent incidents should be reported through the app, which uses your phone's location to provide an accurate address. The app allows you to include photos and provide a detailed description of the incident to help us identify and investigate it. The app ensures the incident is sent to the appropriate council to investigate the issue. 
If you don’t already have it, download the Snap Send Solve app and remember to report environmental incidents as soon as you see them. 
Talk again soon. I’ll be back with another column in December (yikes, the year really is going that fast)!  
Take care,