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Aquatic insect populations indicate Makotuku River returning

The Makotuku River which provided water for Raetihi before it was contaminated by a diesel spill at the Turoa ski area on Mt Ruapehu in October last year is returning to health.

As part of Ruapehu District Council’s plan to return to the Makotuku as the water source for Raetihi council Environment Manager, Anne-Marie Westcott, has walked along the river observing aquatic insect life.

Ms Westcott said that aquatic insect populations provide a good indicator of water quality and the health of the ecosystem.

“The numbers of aquatic insects in the Makotuku River are building which is a good sign the river is returning to health,” she said.

“In a walk up the Makotuku last week turning over river stones I saw good quantities of caddisfly larvae and some very large stoneflies.”

“Different aquatic insects can tolerate different levels of pollution or run-off.”

“Stoneflies require streams with higher quality water and their abundance in the Makotuku shows that the water quality of the river is good.”

Ms Westcott said that at the Waimarino Waiouru Community Board meeting next Thursday (13th Feb) there will be a discussion on a date for a community demonstration of the newly installed hydrocarbon sensor on the raw water intake from the Makotuku River.

ENDS

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