Plan to pro­tect creek from farm pol­lu­tion


A se­ries of bunds and a swale have been rec­om­mended to help re­duce fae­cal loads get­ting into Fish Creek, near Te Waiko­rop­upu¯ Springs in Golden Bay.

Tas­man District Coun­cil re­source sci­en­tist Trevor James said the bunds were suit­able for one of two dairy farms in the catch­ment while a swale was rec­om­mended for the other.

‘‘They’re slightly tech­niques,’’ James said.

Fish Creek is highly val­ued by dif­fer­ent iwi and the com­mu­nity with its as­so­ci­a­tion with Te Waiko­rop­upu¯ Springs.

In a re­port, James says Friends of Golden Bay have been tak­ing sam­ples for E coli anal­y­sis from the Fish Creek catch­ment.

Con­sis­tently high con­cen­tra­tions of E coli have been found in the creek as­so­ci­ated with rain­fall at the re­serve up­stream bound­ary but very low con­cen­tra­tions up­stream of all farm­land.

‘‘Fae­cal source track­ing re­sults show that the source was dom­i­nated by ru­mi­nant an­i­mals with a small sig­na­ture for wild­fowl,’’ James says. ‘‘It ap­pears that the source is pri­mar­ily pas­ture runoff.’’

Though the Takaka Fresh­wa­ter and Land Ad­vi­sory Group (FLAG) is yet to rec­om­mend any new rules – and there are no cur­rent rules – for con­tam­i­nant dis­charges to wa­ter­ways, the ‘‘high value’’ on Fish Creek ‘‘in­creases the com­punc­tion for landown­ers to go to ex­tra ef­fort to re­duce fae­cal loads’’.

The mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures sug­gested are nei­ther ex­pen­sive, nor in­con­ve­nient for the landowner, James says in his re­port.

‘‘Of the two farm­ers in the Fish Creek catch­ment, one has re­sponded quickly and ef­fec­tively to try to re­duce fae­cal load and the other is yet to do so,’’ he says.

‘‘Af­ter meet­ing re­sis­tance, [the] coun­cil sought sup­port from Fon­terra and DairyNZ who have fur­ther re­fined the mit­i­ga­tion op­tions.

‘‘To date, there has not been any progress.’’

James last week told coun­cil­lors that mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures such as the bunds were ‘‘not go­ing to have an ef­fect [in] a mas­sive flood – that’s just go­ing to go right through – but we’re talk­ing about small to medium-size floods’’.

In his re­port, James says it is likely there will al­ways be con­cen­tra­tions of dis­ease-caus­ing or­gan­isms above the level con­sid­ered safe for sec­ondary con­tact as­so­ci­ated with rain­fall as long as there is in­ten­sive farm­land in a catch­ment.

High lev­els of E coli have been found in Fish Creek.

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