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Traps Show Promising Results

Baseline water quality results have come in for the Te Ao Tūroa funded project aiming to restore the health of Pakihaukea (Lindsay Creek).

Initial tests show the health of Pakihaukea is far from ideal. Sediment samples taken from the stream at Craigleith Street show lead (Pb) levels 22 times that seen at Bethunes, before urbanisation impacts the creek. Aquatic invertebrate samples also showed the stream is being impacted by pollutants and disturbance.

Meanwhile, LittaTraps© installed at four sites along North East Valley in late November, were recently lifted with the help of the DCC road maintenance team. The traps are designed to intercept rubbish going down into stormwater. The contents of the traps will be shown this coming Saturday, during the Wild Dunedin Festival Leith River Expo-dition, on the University bank of Ōwheo – the Water of Leith, opposite the University Clock Tower.

Project team member Vicki Lenihan says, “Seeing healthy mahika kai (traditional food sources) return to our awa will benefit everyone, not just mana whenua – I’m sure everyone wants to see whitebait running again. We are looking forward to presenting our initial findings in this first of many planned public programmes. We hope visual evidence that so much of the pollution entering our stormwater system is entirely preventable encourages all Dunedin people to think about where their waste is going.”

Project initiators Dr Rosemary Clucas and Ranui Ryan are using this data-collecting to focus on what is working and where we could do things differently to protect the creek and prevent run-off contaminants from entering it. “We would like to understand the consequences of the levels of toxicity we are seeing in heavy metals and hydrocarbons in relation bioaccumulation in our mahika kai and the direct impacts these have on stream life. The LittaTrap© contents show the effects of localised behaviours such as paint scraping and smokers, with polystyrene balls appearing most problematic. There is no quick fix and getting people to take greater responsibility for their rubbish still seems to be a take-home message.”

Pūmanawa Wai: Restoring Pakihaukea is being driven by a small group of Ngāi Tahu who live along the North East Valley, with the support of the Dunedin City Council’s Te Ao Tūroa – The Natural World funding, advised by both the city and regional water management bodies and the city’s road management team, with the backing of Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki.

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