Har­bour health a con­cern

Rubbish on the de­cline, but still a blight

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

The large amount of rubbish en­ter­ing Porirua Har­bour re­mains a con­cern, but the over­all health is on the rise, ac­cord­ing to a newly re­leased ‘‘score­card’’.

Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil re­cently com­pleted a map­ping and in­ter-tidal sur­vey of the har­bour as part of an ac­tion plan to im­prove its over­all health.

The plan is part of a project adopted by Porirua and Welling­ton City coun­cils, the re­gional coun­cil and Ngati Toa, with help from 10 other agencies.

One of them is the Porirua Har­bour and Catch­ment Trust. Its chair­man, Grant Baker, said its own state- of- the- har­bour score­card re­vealed sev­eral pos­i­tives.

The trust’s re­view panel looked at agency ac­tion, sed­i­men­ta­tion, recre­ational us­age, eco­log­i­cal health and waste.

‘‘There is a per­cep­tion from the reg­u­lar har­bour users that it is im­prov­ing, giv­ing it an over­all 4/5 mark,’’ Mr Baker said. ‘‘They say the wa­ter qual­ity has im­proved and they rate their on- wa­ter ex­pe­ri­ence as good.

‘‘The feel­ing is that things are start­ing to hap­pen, which is great.’’

What was not good was the rubbish, such as tyres, road cones and shop­ping trol­leys, that are still com­ing from the Porirua Stream.

‘‘It’s an on­go­ing is­sue. In 2009, there were over 400 items taken out of the Onepoto Arm and in the last two years the trust and Keep Porirua Beau­ti­ful have done a clean-up there in Novem­ber.

‘‘In Novem­ber we took out 172 large items, 132 of which were tyres. It’s down from 260 items in 2012, but it’s still too much.’’

The Porirua Har­bour and Catch­ment Trust gave the agency ac­tion — help from or­gan­i­sa­tions that said they would pro­vide fund­ing to­wards the har­bour’s health — a 3/5 mark.

Sed­i­men­ta­tion it rated 5/5 in the Pau­ata­hanui Inlet and 3/5 in Onepoto. Mr Baker said an in­crease of soft mud in the har­bour, from three hectares to 20 hectares in five years, was a con­cern.

Fur­ther work on re­duc­ing the in­flows and achiev­ing the ac­tion plan tar­get of 1mm per year was needed, Mr Baker said.

The score­card’s wa­ter qual­ity marks var­ied.

The trust ranked the qual­ity at Pare­mata Bridge 4/5, Plim­mer­ton Beach, Kare­hana Bay and the wa­ter ski club on the Inlet 3/5, and 2/5 at the row­ing club at Onepoto.

The Porirua Stream’s health at Wall Place re­ceived a rat­ing of 3/5, but 4/ 5 at Horokiri and Pau­ata­hanui streams.

Mr Baker said the re­gional coun­cil’s test­ing regime, and mak­ing the re­sults read­ily avail­able, was ap­pre­ci­ated.

‘‘The data is very im­por­tant and it al­lows us to cherry pick a lot.

‘‘ What we’re do­ing with the score­card is set­ting a bench­mark that we’ll use ev­ery year from now on. With the work start­ing on Trans­mis­sion Gully, we can track what ef­fect that will have, too.’’

Mr Baker said the trust would do a score­card ev­ery Fe­bru­ary.

Ngati Toa kau­matua Taku Parai said close scru­tiny of the har­bour by the re­gional coun­cil could only be good.

‘‘Loss of sig­nif­i­cant habi­tat in the har­bour is a prob­lem that has af­fected Ngati Toa for many gen­er­a­tions. Hav­ing ac­cess to the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by these sur­veys is em­pow­er­ing for iwi and the whole com­mu­nity to work to­gether for pos­i­tive change,’’ he said.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said stormwa­ter and sewer up­grades, com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion and the de­vel­op­ment of an es­tu­ary restora­tion and catch­ment veg­e­ta­tion frame­work were among the projects Porirua City Coun­cil was com­mit­ted to.

There was a tighter earth­works pol­icy and an ero­sion con­trol plan com­ing, Mr Leggett said.

For the Porirua Har­bour and Catch­ment Trust’s full score­card, go to poriru­a­har­bourtrust.org.nz.

Pho­tos: FAIR­FAX

Look­ing down: Porirua Har­bour’s health has been the sub­ject of ex­ten­sive pol­icy work, dis­cus­sions and strat­egy meet­ings in the past few years.

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