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The story of sediment in Cashmere catchment

Wednesday, April 14, 2021   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: water, management, pollution

Environment Canterbury media release: 13th April 2021

Posters have been placed around the Cashmere and Mount Pleasant areas encouraging people who see sediment to report it. These are part of an education campaign to raise awareness of sediment and erosion issues in the Cashmere Stream and the Heathcote/ Ōpāwaho River.

The Cashmere catchment has been a focus for the Christchurch West Melton Water Zone Committee and its sub-committee, the Cashmere and Port Hills Working Group.

Education first: understanding sediment

The Port Hills are covered in a very fine sediment called “loess”.

Where this becomes exposed, it can easily be washed out with rain.

Key sources of sediment coming from the Port Hills include:

  • exposed soils from forestry and inadequate forestry riparian buffers;
  • poorly constructed and maintained recreation tracks;
  • unfenced waterways resulting in loss of vegetation;
  • loss of vegetation due to fire;
  • exposed soils during subdivision development; and
  • poorly performing and managed sediment and erosion control strategies.

Sediment that leaves properties in the Cashmere and Port Hills areas ends up on footpaths, in gutters, and on roads. When it rains it washes into the Cashmere Stream, which feeds into the Heathcote/Ōpāwaho River.

Sediment smothers the habitat for fish and insects, making it harder for fish to see their food. It makes the river look dirty and makes it more likely to flood.

Chair of the Christchurch West Melton Water Zone Committee, Kevin Brown, said the aim is to get people thinking about what the source of dirty water might be when it rains, but equally, where dirt ends up once it’s made its way onto roads, footpaths, and into gutters.

Seen some sediment? Report it

“Residents may have seen the posters encouraging people to report sediment issues to Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council (CCC) through the incident response number" Mr Brown said.

Call the incident response hotline on 0800 765 588 if you see sediment or erosion issues during heavy rains or surrounding building or construction sites. Environment Canterbury can then investigate.

Schools and community groups have also been encouraged to share the message with their students, parents, members, and others.