Lyell Creek and beach clean-up a roaring success

Every woman and her dog were contributing to the health of local waterways during Kaikōura’s Love the Lyell Creek and beach clean-up on September 26.

Around 60 school students, teachers, elected officials, and members of the public took part in the creek and beach foreshore purge, with over 675kg of rubbish, cans, glass and even a deck chair picked up.

Students from St Joseph’s and Kaikōura Suburban schools and Creation Care Study Program teamed up to visit sites along the creek and beach, between the New World and South Bay, collecting rubbish and learning about the local endangered banded dotterel.

Kaikōura Youth Council members Jade, 12, and Maia, 14, were on hand to describe what the council does and how the day affected the environment.

"I've been on the council since the start of the year - we put on projects for the youth of Kaikōura," Jade said.

"(Kaikōura is) special because it's unique, we have special things like clear water and you can't always get the mountains and the sea in the same place," Maia said.

And they both had great environmental tips for reducing waste in North Canterbury.

My top tip is to use more reusable things and cut out things like plastic if you can go without," Maia said.

"Not to use plastic straws," said Jade.

"We walked along the edge of the creek and picked up rubbish, which is important because if it's not done, the river will become polluted and won't be clean in say 10-15 years," Maia said.

Experienced heads lead the way

Some of the more experienced campaigners, like Kaikōura Zone Water Committee chairman Ted Howard (armed with waders and a rubbish claw), took to the creek itself to fish out everything from loose cuts of timber to weeds and even a bucket.

Ted has been involved with clean up days for around 20 years and reckons this year was his 18th Love the Lyell Creek and beach clean-up day.

“It was great to see so many young people come along to help,” Ted said.

“There was a strong focus this year on the beach and it was great to see a smaller than usual amount of rubbish and waste in the Creek.”

Environment Canterbury Kaikōura project delivery officer Heath Melville said the day was a roaring success.

“The sun was shining, the kids were excited and enthusiastic, providing adult helpers with plenty of humour. We couldn’t ask for much more,” he said.

Native trees planted

Following the morning session, it was back to school for the junior pupils and time for the seniors to get stuck in.

Thirty-five students from Kaikōura High School planted 150 native trees, shrubs and sedges on the confluence of Warrens Creek and Lyell Creek/Waikōau.

The species planted will contribute to the health of the stream, forming a buffer between nearby farmland and the waterway, limiting sediment and nutrients from entering the waterway; while also providing food sources for native birds and overhanging vegetation will provide habitat for tuna/eels and inānga/whitebait.

“The children were engaged and seemed to really enjoy searching the beach with their friends, while spotting some of the local birdlife, even ripping out some invasive boneseed with a little direction,” Heath said.

Kaikōura District Council’s biodiversity officer Kate Hunt said they were pleased to have such a good turnout.

“It was great to see kids out there and excited to help out the environment and we hope to see similar projects flourish in the future.”

“Thanks to all our partner agencies who made this Love the Lyell community event possible,” Kate said.

This year’s annual Love the Lyell clean-up day was organised by Kaikōura District Council and supported by Environment Canterbury; major sponsors the NZ Motor Caravan Association Green Fund; Kaikōura Water Zone Committee; Whale Watch; Māori Wardens; Department of Conservation; Innovative Waste Kaikōura; Encounter Kaikōura; and a special thanks to Gary Melville.

Students during Kaikōura's Love the Lyell Creek and beach clean-up

Students during Kaikōura's Love the Lyell Creek and beach clean-up

Kaikōura Zone Water Committee chairman Ted Howard

Kaikōura Zone Water Committee chairman Ted Howard

Lyell Creek in Kaikōura

A clean and clear Lyell Creek in Kaikōura