Welcome to the latest Project Maitai/Mahitahi update. Project Maitai/Mahitahi is a four year programme of work by the Council, Friends of the Maitai, iwi and the community with the goal of ‘working together to improve the health of the Maitai/Mahitahi river and its tributaries - so we can swim safely, collect kai, and value this taonga (treasure) as an integral part of Nelson’s physical and cultural landscape’
This newsletter includes a summary of what we have achieved together in the first year and what is coming up in year two. Funding for the programme has been confirmed through the Council’s Long Term Plan until 2018 so we are really excited about what we can achieve in that time. If you have any comments or feedback about what’s planned please let me know and check the Friends of the Maitai webpage to see what’s happening and how you can get involved.
Year 1 achievements:
Six community group projects in and around the Maitai were supported with grants from Project Maitai/Mahitahi. These included planting, monitoring, research and beautification projects. Altogether community groups and businesses contributed over $50,000 worth of time, expertise and donated goods to these projects. Many thanks to everyone involved.
Major riverside planting events were held at the Golf Course, Maitai Camp and Shakespeare Walk, with a total of 6500 plants put into the ground. Additional school plantings were done beside York and Emano Streams, and two large Friends of the Maitai planting days were held at Groom Creek, along with mulching and post-planting maintenance sessions. The Friends of the Maitai hold informal plant care sessions every second Friday from 4.00-5.30 at Groom Creek opposite the Maitai Camp. It’s a lovely way to unwind at the end of the week so if you would like more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Improving Urban Impacts
The Maitai and its tributaries run through densely populated areas so there have been several initiatives to reduce urban impacts on water quality.
- Three large wastewater leaks into the river via the stormwater system were located and fixed, and rising mains that cross under the river were dye tested to check there were no leaks.
- A rubbish clean up in Saltwater Creek was carried out by the Wakatu Rotary group and Nelmac, with further work planned in this area.
- A chain, bollards and signage were installed at Almond Tree Flats ford to prevent inappropriate use of the ford (for example, car washing).
Making life better for fish
A small channel was built in the river bank at Shakespeare Walk Reserve to increase the available space for inanga (whitebait) to lay their eggs, and fish passages were installed at the Maitai Dam so that native fish can move freely up and down stream to complete their life cycle.
A variety of other work has also been completed including; fencing stock out of waterways, changes to Maitai reservoir operations to improve water quality, research into gravel movement throughout the catchment and a study of river flows.
Year 2 projects:
Six projects are continuing from year 1 and six new projects have been added to the programme in year 2. There’s a focus on York Stream and Saltwater Creek this year to improve the water quality, reduce the amount of litter and rubbish in the streams, and make those streams more welcoming for fish and other freshwater critters.
The focus on York Stream is partly in response to a petition presented to Council by Victory Primary School students in December 2013, asking for more attention on the stream. The petition said:
“We want you to clean all of the rubbish out of our awa. We want the pollution to be fixed so that ika, tuna and koura can live in the water. We want more native trees planted along our awa to help keep it cool and clean. We want fish ladders installed to help native fish migrate upstream. We want a new fence built where York Stream runs through our school. We want the area just before our awa goes underground to be enhanced and improved.”
Project Manager Jo Martin would love to hear from anyone who is keen to help set up or join a group to pick up litter, remove weeds or carry out streamside plantings along both York Stream and Saltwater Creek. Please contact her on 03 545 8728 or email email@example.com.
We’re also continuing to work on improving fish passage, understanding toxic algae, minimising the impact of the Maitai Dam on the river, improving riverside plantings, reducing sediment and contaminant inputs and making the Collingwood St swimming hole safe for swimming.
For more detail on each of the projects see below:
Maitai/Mahitahi E.coli Source Identification
Description: Finding out where the E.coli contamination at Collingwood St Bridge swimming hole is coming from and fixing it.
Objective: The Collingwood St Bridge swimming hole reliably meets recreational bathing guidelines, and the community can safely swim there.
Maitai Reservoir Operations
Description: Improving the way the Maitai Reservoir is operated so any negative impact on the river is reduced.
Objective: Back feed from the Maitai Dam has minimal negative impact on the water quality and biodiversity of the Maitai/Mahitahi River.
Aquatic Biodiversity Project
Description: Making changes so our streams can support all the freshwater plants and animals that should be there.
Objective: In-stream changes help improve the freshwater aquatic biodiversity in the Maitai/Mahitahi catchment, including the upper Maitai/Mahitahi and tributaries.
York Stream Water Quality
Description: Finding out what is causing poor water quality in York Stream and making a plan to improve it.
Objective: Contaminant inputs into York Stream are identified and minimised or eliminated, beginning at the top of the stream and working down.
York Stream In-stream Habitat Enhancement
Description: Making the York Stream a more welcoming place for stream life by improving habitat and removing fish passage barriers.
Objective: Changes are made in York Stream to provide better habitat for aquatic life and remove fish barriers, in collaboration with the York Stream group based at Victory Primary School.
Saltwater Creek Water Quality
Description: Finding out what is causing poor water quality in Saltwater Creek and making a plan to improve it.
Objective: Contaminant inputs into Saltwater Creek are identified and minimised or eliminated.
Saltwater Creek Litter Management
Description: Working with the community to reduce the rubbish in and around Saltwater Creek and improving the look of the creek.
Objective: Reduced levels of litter and plastic waste in and around Saltwater Creek.
Riparian Planting Project
Description: Planting more native plants along waterways to reduce erosion and sediment run off, provide shade to cool the water, and increase habitat for other native plants and animals.
Objective: Riparian planting and vegetation management in the Maitai catchment supports Project Maitai/Mahitahi and Nelson Nature, and implements the priority planting plan completed in year 1.
Groom Creek Wetland
Description: Forming a wetland area at the base of Groom Creek where it enters the Maitai/Mahitahi River to filter out nutrients and sediment from the Groom Creek catchment.
Objective: Nutrient and sediment run off from the Groom Creek catchment is prevented from entering the Maitai River by the restoration of a wetland at the base of Groom Creek.
Cyanobacteria Action Plan
Description: Managing Cyanobacteria (toxic algae) risk to dogs and humans, and finding out what causes Cyanobacteria blooms so those factors can be targeted.
Objective: Improved community awareness of cyanobacteria risk to dogs, and a better understanding of factors influencing cyanobacteria blooms.
Maitai/Mahitahi Ford Improvements
Description: Removing or modifying the fords on the Maitai/Mahitahi River so they are not a barrier to fish migration.
Objective: Fish are freely able to access the mid and upper reaches of the Maitai/Mahitahi and are not blocked by the fords in the river.
Project Maitai/Mahitahi Communications
Description: Informing the community about key issues and achievements, and opportunities to get involved.
Objective: A negotiated communications plan is delivered in collaboration with project managers and key stakeholders.
For more information about Project Maitai/Mahitahi go to our facebook page or website at www.nelson.govt.nz/project-maitai, or check out the Friends of the Maitai at www.friendsofthemaitai.org.nz
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Ngā mihi nui