Enhancing Timaru’s Saltwater Creek

Timaru’s Saltwater Creek is well-known to locals as a great spot for a walk or a bike ride and is home to the local rowing club, as well as native plants and wildlife. But problems with weed, water quality and flow levels have led to the creation of a working group with a focus on the long-term management of this water resource.

The Saltwater Creek working group includes representatives from Waihao rūnanga, Environment Canterbury, the Timaru Rowing Club, Timaru District Council, Department of Conservation, Fish and Game New Zealand, and local farmers. It is being facilitated by the Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora (OTOP) Water Zone Committee’s Healthy Catchments Project. The aim is for the group to look at the key issues, consider potential solutions this winter and make recommendations to the Zone Committee.

Michael Hide, Environment Canterbury’s Zone Manager South Canterbury, said Saltwater Creek is a valued community area.

“This waterway is an important recreational resource for local people – including the Timaru Rowing Club, whose rowers are affected by periods of low flow and weed growth. We will be looking at long-term solutions that protect the sustainability of this waterway.”

The working group have held their first meeting and have already identified some scientific information they’d like to gather to help inform their recommendations. These include investigating different options for controlling weed growth in summer, looking at measures to support native fish and wildlife, and gaining a clearer understanding of what activities and mitigations affect the flow and creek level, particularly above the weir, where the rowers practice.

Environment Canterbury staff have been asked to help gather the scientific and technical information for the working group in the next few months and it is hoped that recommendations to the Zone Committee will be made by August 2017, for inclusion in the Healthy Catchments Project.