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.