Living here nov 2015

Page 1

The newsletter of Environment Canterbury

living here

November 2015

Freshening up your summer in Canterbury

Enjoying the summer sun, Jackson Scott and Nicholas Pearce wet their lines at the Groynes in Christchurch, one of the many places popular for young people.

Regional parks beckon for summer activities Pack a picnic and spend a day outdoors this summer in one of Environment Canterbury’s three Regional Parks – Ashley Rakahuri, Waimakariri, or Lake Tekapo.

The third regional park, at Tekapo, offers plenty of recreational opportunities including fantastic access to the lake for swimming and kayaking.

Where to play this summer

So don’t linger indoors, step outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Whether you want to walk, ride, kayak,

We have created some great new recreational facilities, and we’re gearing up the parks for high visitor numbers over the summer.

swim, fish or spot some of Canterbury's rare bird species, then now is the time

If you want to know the latest on our Regional Parks, about the ground and water conditions, forthcoming events, plus information about any closures or partial closures of park facilities, please search under Regional Parks on our website The pages are checked and updated regularly by our park rangers. There's also information on boating rules and on the water quality at your favourite swimming spot.

to enjoy the outdoors. If you are on the water it is always 'safety first'. Read more about the best swimming spots in Canterbury and their water quality on Page 2. The fire risk this summer is already high so please remember no

Look out too, for a new under and overpass on the mountain bike tracks at McLeans Forest, an area rated the most popular destination in the Waimakariri Park. The cycle crossing is the result of joint efforts by Environment Canterbury, Bluedog Events and Hunter Civil.

fires to be lit this summer in Environment Canterbury's Regional Parks. If smoke or fire is seen call 111.

Read more on page 2

Community support also means there is a new fishing platform for disabled anglers at MacIntoshes - a popular fishing spot in the lower Waimakariri.

Hop on board! Christchurch's new $53 million Bus Interchange is now open and

Construction for a new horse park has begun in the West Melton Forest between Chattertons and Weedons Ross Roads. Separate trail bike riding tracks in the area will also be expanded.

worth having a look at. Additionally the Riccarton Passenger lounge is due to

You can ride at Baynons Brake near Clarkville, and enjoy walking 09 20horses ing s i t r e cycling tracks at Kaiapoi Island, where there is also a motocross area. v and d A and sign Kaiapoi Island is the main access area for jet boating. You can fish just

open in early December.

Read more on page 4

about anywhere on the Waimakariri River in season, and dogs are welcome provided they are under control and kept away from breeding birds in the riverbeds from August to February.

The goslings look cute but they are a

A plan to link Brooklands and McLeans Forest via the Templars Trail during the summer will make the lesser known areas of Te Rauakaaka (which is near Kainga on the south side of the Waimakariri), and Templars more accessible and better known for cyclists to enjoy.

Environment Canterbury is working with

real problem. The Canada Goose is too profilic and the increasing numbers mean

Hours of fun and loads of energy can be spent enjoying our regional bike tracks. Visit our website for more details on our local tracks.

Facilitating sustainable development in the Canterbury region

other agencies on a management plan.

Read more on page 4

Summer in Cant Keeping a close watch on our rivers and lakes

Navigation safety officers will be working closely with Maritime NZ and the Coastguard in the lead-up to another busy summer in KaikŌura. Between 200-300 vessels will be launched each day at the region’s coastal slipways and launching spots.

Where do we monitor swimming water quality?

How do we monitor swimming water quality?

Summer monitoring of swimming water quality kicked off mid November, when our three university recruits pack away their books and head out to popular swimming spots in Canterbury. Armed with sampling kits to test for bacterial contamination, and sharp eyes to check for signs of algal blooms, our team carries out monitoring for 15 weeks.

Environment Canterbury summer monitoring students are out on the ground, taking regular samples at each monitoring site. We carry out weekly tests at rivers, lakes and beaches. Through these we can spot signs of faecal contamination, indicated by the levels in Escherichia coli (E.coli) in freshwater and enterococci in coastal waters.

We select monitoring sites based on areas with high levels of recreational use and requests from members of the public. While we aim to have long-term data sets for all of our sites, occasionally we might suspend monitoring at a site if the water quality has been stable over the past five years, or if the site is no longer frequently used.

We carry out weekly checks at rivers for potential cyanobacteria toxic algae blooms. If we spot any black or brown, velvety, musty mats covering over 20 percent of a river sample site, then an alert is triggered, requiring a more thorough survey of the site and an alert to Community and Public Health (CPH) if necessary.

This enables our team to redistribute resources and carry out monitoring at new sites. Both previous and current monitoring sites remain listed on our water quality monitoring map, with the current level of monitoring noted.

We also take monthly water samples from lakes that are susceptible to cyanobacteria blooms. If a green soupy scum is seen and the water exceeds national thresholds for cyanobacteria taxa, then we will alert CPH.

Where are the best swimming spots in our rivers and lakes? All sites are graded at the start of the summer, based on two types of information. The first considers the potential contamination risks to the swimming spot, such as sewage outfalls, storm water drains, run-off from land, bird density, or stock access. The second factor looks at water quality data gathered over the past 3-5 summer monitoring periods. These factors are then combined to give a grade from Very Good to Very Poor. These grades will not change over the summer period, but give an indication of the general human health risk when swimming at a particular site. Visit for the latest information on the suitability for swimming at popular sites over the summer. You can also follow swimming water quality updates on The map on the right shows where we monitor water quality to determine the best swimming spots.

Canterbury's 700 kilometres of braided rivers provide great jet-boating opportunities. For more information on jet-boating opportunities visit

Rivers offer white water adventures

Where to go with Canterbury Maps

Canterbury’s alpine rivers and tributaries provide a diverse resource of white water for New Zealand’s estimated 200,000-plus kayaking enthusiasts, and overseas recreationalists.

Before you head out this summer you should check out to help you plan your trip.

There are options for all skill levels and a number of reaches have nationally significant kayaking values, some recognised by Water Conservation Orders. Kayakers need sufficient flows to produce the white water features that are at the essence of their sport. A study commissioned by Environment Canterbury identifies the most valued kayaking waterways and identify the flows required to cater to different abilities. The flow data and other information from this study will be valuable for planners and developers to meet the needs of kayakers and other white water recreation users.

The Canterbury Maps project has been co-ordinated by Environment Canterbury, working with local councils around the region. It’s simple to get started with Canterbury Maps. The map carousel and the map gallery on the site’s homepage link to a wide range of available maps, which can be manipulated by the user.

You can find the full report at by searching ‘kayaking’ at

There is detailed land and property information, data on the region’s water and air quality, and council services and local attractions, amongst many other things.

Watch your step in riverbeds

Rivers swell with jet boats

If you enjoy exploring Canterbury’s riverbeds, spare a thought this summer for the birds that nest on them.

Canterbury boasts more than 700kms of braided rivers suitable for jet-boating, which also feature great picnicking, fishing, and swimming spots – there is something for everyone.

Almost all riverbed birds feed, roost, sleep, nest and raise chicks on the ground. Kayakers enjoying some of Canterbury's popular kayaking locations. Visit our website for more information on water flow data and waterways that cater for local and international enthusiasts alike.

Canterbury Maps has lots of useful information on how to access more than 700 river and coastal sites. It also has recreational water quality, biodiversity restoration trails, and other recreation sites.

Concentrations of birds sitting on the ground could indicate a nesting colony or a flocking or roosting site. Disturbing them can cause the parents to leave their nests – often never to return. If the bird returns to the nest too late, the eggs will chill and die. Fishers, walkers, motorcyclists, four wheel drive enthusiasts and people walking dogs are asked to take great care in such areas to avoid alarming the precious species regularly found on our braided rivers. Remember, these birds are highly vulnerable to disturbance and nest damage. If you are in their territory, please leave the area as quickly and carefully as you can.

The Waimakariri is the most popular river for the region’s 3500 jet-boat enthusiasts. It offers good access and is suitable for a wide range of skills and experience. Jet-boaters need to take care, however, given the constantly changing braided river environment as well as considering other river users and birds. For more information on jet-boating opportunities visit and search for a recent report on Canterbury Jetboating. Environment Canterbury and contractors for NZ Transport Agency recently oversaw the removal of several hazardous structures as ‘sputniks’ (large concrete blocks studded with railway iron) and railway iron/wire structures from rivers. These hazards had been placed some time ago as flood defences. As the river channels have moved the ‘sputniks’ have become both redundant and hazardous to boats in the rivers. The hazards will continue to be removed as river conditions allow. Meanwhile, if you see anything in a river that could pose a navigation safety hazard, please report it to

Do you know about “Check, Clean, Dry”? Fill in our survey

The Banded Dotterel is one of Canterbury's endangered species, regularly found on many of our riverbeds along with others such as the Black-billed Gull, Wrybill, White-fronted Tern and Caspian Tern. Please be careful you don't disturb their nests.

Environment Canterbury is keen to prevent the spread of aquatic pests in the region's rivers and streams. We would like to find out more about people’s awareness of the need to Check, Clean and Dry boats, kayaks, fishing gear, or anything else that comes into contact with rivers, especially

if going to other waterways, through a simple online survey. We would appreciate it if you could take a couple of minutes to fill in our survey at P656PTG. You can then go in the draw to win a $50 MTA voucher. Thank you.




KAIKŌURA Waiau Hurunui


Ashley Rakahuri Regional Park


Waimakariri River Regional Park


With over 10km of marked horse trails, Baynons Brake (Waimakariri River Regional Park) is the perfect recreational trail for riders of all abilities. As well as horse riding, you can go fishing, or walk or mountain bike on separate trails to Kaiapoi Island.

Rakaia Lake Tekapo Regional Park





Waitaki For the latest information on where it is safe to swim visit

Love your Waitaki lakes

Stopbank upgrade for recreation

If you’re visiting the Waitaki this summer, be sure you leave only footprints.

The ten-year, $40 million Waimakariri Flood Protection Project has improved a valuable ecological and recreation area near Engelbrechts at Coutts Island. The project is aimed at reducing the Waimakariri River flood risk to Waimakariri District, Selwyn District, and Christchurch City.

The lakes and other waterways in the Upper Waitaki draw thousands of visitors each year contributing tens of millions of dollars to the regional economy. It’s a popular playground for holiday makers and recreationalists during the summer months, and with this come environmental impacts. If rubbish is not disposed of thoughtfully, it can get in to the lakes and waterways and affect water quality. Everyone has a role to play to keep the Waitaki Lakes beautiful, so please remember to take your rubbish with you and use the toilet facilities provided. If you are in a houseboat or yacht you need to get your tanks pumped and taken to a disposal site, along with any rubbish. Some of the local camping grounds have these facilities.

Everyone has a role to play to keep the Waitaki Lakes beautiful, so please remember to take your rubbish with you.

The Engelbrechts stopbank breached during the December 1957 flood, the largest on record, causing flooding of the Coutts Island and Belfast areas. Project works including stopbank raising and rock bank erosion protection works will significantly reduce flood risk. These works are expected to be completed by early December, and include the planting of native vegetation, upgrade of horse trails, and improvement of walking and fishing access. Ian Heslop, Principal River Engineer, said that although the works site had only been partially reopened to the public at this stage for public safety, there had already been positive comment on the improved views to the river bed and mountains, and the sculptured look of the rock groynes. “This is a great example of how flood protection works can improve environmental and recreational values”, he said. The work at Engelbrechts will require a total of 42,000 tonnes of rock placed over a river length of 2km, all sourced from View Hill Quarry near Oxford. The Waimakariri Flood Protection Project as a whole, including a secondary stopbanking system to prevent Waimakariri flood break-outs towards Christchurch, will be completed in 4 years’ time. The secondary stopbank has already been completed between Cross Bank and the Northern Motorway, and will extend upstream to Thompsons Road at Halkett when finished.

Significant work is nearly complete at Engelbrechts at Coutts Island. Part of the 10 year $40 million Waimakariri flood protection project, this stopbank will reduce flood risk to the district (story at left).

Dry summer will create a fire risk The current dry spell and the predicted continuing dry conditions for Canterbury in relation to El Nino has Environment Canterbury’s Regional Parks Team carefully monitoring fire risk. Warm and windy weather is already pushing the fire risk to levels normally experienced during summer. Environment Canterbury maintains a rural fire fighting

capability to assist the rural fire authorities which are responsible for fire control in the Waimakariri River and Ashley Rakahuri Regional Parks. Our fire fighters also assist at rural fires around Christchurch as requested by rural fire authorities. There should be no fires lit in Environment Canterbury’s Regional Parks and if smoke or fire is seen call 111.

There is plenty to see and do around the region this summer. Take a picnic and enjoy time out at one of Canterbury's many rivers, lakes or streams.

Getting on board

Canada Goose a nuisance and a threat in and around Christchurch It’s the time of year when the burgeoning population of Canada Goose expands even further, with up to 11 goslings per pair. Cute and fluffy the goslings may be, but the fast growing numbers of the geese in and around Christchurch are becoming such a problem that Environment Canterbury is working with a range of agencies on a management plan for the future. "A management plan may not provide a quick fix, but it will give some guidance around what needs to be done and who is best placed to do it," said Environment Canterbury resource management director Kim Drummond. "The nature and the scope of the plan is still to be determined, and a committee will meet shortly to decide which agency will be responsible for the tasks in the greater Christchurch area."

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee unveiled a plaque at the official opening of Christchurch’s new Bus Interchange. With him for the occasion were (from left) Associate Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Nicky Wagner, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Chief Executive Arihia Bennett, Environment Canterbury Commissioners David Caygill and Elizabeth Cunningham, and CERA Acting Chief Executive John Ombler.

Whether this morphs into a formal pest management plan is yet to be decided, but it is important that a solution is found before the goose population increases further.

Bus Interchange officially open

While they provide sport for hunters in the back country, the Canada Goose is a nuisance in the city – they defecate on public parks, golf courses and riverbanks, and can transmit diseases to other animals and people. They can be aggressive, especially in the mating season, and they represent a major threat to aircraft they can down a plane if sucked into both engines, as happened in New York City, when a plane made an emergency landing on the Hudson River in 2009.

Christchurch’s new Bus Interchange was officially opened by the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery at the end of October.

So far there have been no strikes in greater Christchurch, but pilots and air traffic controllers have reported Canada Goose getting too close for comfort.

This is the first of the Government-led anchor projects in the central city. The Bus Interchange will help Environment Canterbury improve and further develop public transport services across the city as public transport is part of the lifeblood of a modern city. For more information about public transport in Canterbury check out The $53 million facility has opened in stages. The first stage opened on May 25 with half of the 16 bus bays operational while construction continued in the second stage area. On August 20, the building was physically completed and further opened to the public, including bike parking and more seating. Last month, the remaining bays became operational and Minister Gerry Brownlee officially opened it.

Riccarton Road bus lounge opening soon A bus passenger lounge on Riccarton Road is likely to open by early December. The passenger waiting lounge, on the corner of Division Street and Riccarton Road, features seating, free Wi-Fi, up-to-date bus information and security measures for passenger safety. Riccarton Road is the busiest bus corridor in Christchurch, with more than 3000 people boarding from the central Riccarton bus stops daily.

Waimakariri consultation Plans to reduce congestion on the Northern Motorway by improving public transport services will be implemented next year. In October, Environment Canterbury commissioners approved a range of measures to encourage greater use of public transport to help reduce congestion on the Northern Motorway.

Despite the best efforts of the airport company and others, bird numbers including Canada Goose are increasing.

Know the water rules; avoid a fine

Environment Canterbury’s Navigational Safety Officer Gary Manch said the majority of water-craft users do adhere to the bylaws but for those who don’t, it does get noticed. “Concerned members of the public are contacting us if they see speeding or dangerous behaviour on the water,” he said. “We follow up on all of these concerns and complaints and if we have sufficient evidence we will fine people who continue to breach the bylaw and put other users at risk. People who don’t think about safety when out on the water tend to be the ones that cause accidents.”

“Last year there were a few people who simply weren’t following basic boat safety rules and there were some isolated dangerous activities. People forget that these rules are for the safety and well-being of all water users. If you want to go fast, do it responsibly and use an area that is unrestricted,” Gary Manch said.

*2013 Census

Mussels - Kakahi. Freshwater mussels on a measuring board (photo EOS ecology) Please help us find out more about the region’s freshwater crayfish/ koura and mussels/kakahi populations by filling in our online survey at These mysterious creatures are important mahinga kai species, help maintain the health and water quality of streams and lakes and yet are typically an unprotected component of freshwater biodiversity. Nationally, they are considered to be in decline, but their status in Canterbury is largely unknown. Our intention is to use the information to protect populations and prioritise restoration. It will only take a few minutes:

Christmas hours

Best wishes for the festive season from Environment Canterbury. Our offices will be closed, from 5pm on December 23 to January 6, inclusive. We will open again on January 7, 2016.

The new and amended services will start in early to mid-2016.



Crays - Kōura. Adult freshwater crayfish

Throughout Canterbury, the Navigation Safety Bylaws state that water-craft are not permitted to operate at a speed over 5 knots when within 200 metres of the shore or a structure and within 50 metres of another vessel or person.

These changes will be supported by Environment Canterbury’s partner organisations, Waimakariri District Council, Christchurch City Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency, providing other improvements, including Park and Ride facilities in Rangiora and Kaiapoi (Silverstream).


Have you seen these critters?

Boaties, jet-skiers and water-users are being reminded of the dangers around speeding and irresponsible behaviour on the water, as Kaikōura prepares for another busy boating season. Last year between 200-300 vessels were launched each day at the Kaikōura coastal slipways and launching spots and that number is expected to be similar this summer.

The plans include introducing a new commuter bus service to the airport commercial and industrial area and Hornby, increasing the frequency of some bus services and altering routes to improve coverage.


The fast growing numbers of Canada Goose in and around Christchurch are becoming such a problem that Environment Canterbury is working with a range of agencies on a management plan for the future. The geese are a threat to aircraft, because they fly across Christchurch Airport flight paths on their way to and from food sources.


Holiday bus timetables

*2010-14 Waimakariri District Council Statistics

Greater Christchurch and Timaru




Environment Canterbury Offices Christchurch PO Box 345 Christchurch 8140 P. 03 365 3828

ISSN: 1175-3528

Timaru 75 Church Street PO Box 550 P. 03 687 7800

Wearing a lifejacket that is the correct fit is essential for keeping safe on the water. Environment Canterbury is responsible for boat safety along our coasts, in harbours and on rivers and lakes.

On Christmas Day, Metro buses will run to the Sunday timetable, stopping at 6pm. Between 26 December until 2 January, buses run to their Saturday timetables. Please call us for more details or visit Enjoy your Christmas!

Contact details Kaikōura 73 Beach Road PO Box 59 P. 03 319 5781

Online: Email: Customer Services: 0800 EC INFO Free phone: 0800 324 636 or Christchurch: 03 353 9007

Contact the Commissioners: 0800 COMMISSIONERS (0800 266 647) Metroinfo ChCh: 03 366 8855

Businfo Timaru: 03 688 5544 Pollution Hotline: 03 366 4663 (inside Christchurch) (24 hours) Pollution Hotline: 0800 76 55 88 (outside Christchurch) (24 hours)

Civil defence: 03 366 2359 River & flood infoline: 0900 74837 (charges apply) 0900 RIVER River report: Riverflows: