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Upper Hutt Leader : June 20th 2012
25 UPPER HUTT LEADER, JUNE 20, 2012 Porirua Harbour viewed from Whitireia Park. Greater Wellington is working with the Porirua City Council, Wellington City Council, Ngäti Toa Rangatira and other organisations to improve the harbour's health The good news -- we have clean air in most places, lots of good soils, excellent groundwater and beaches that are usually safe for swimming. Not so good -- the water quality in some of our rivers, streams and lakes Greater Wellington has just released reports on the health of air, land, freshwater and coastal resources -- the most comprehensive analysis of our natural environment since 2005. Here s a snapshot of key ndings: WHAT S GOOD Air quality is good most of the time Soils are in very good or good condition at most sites we sampled Water quality at 31 of the 55 river and stream sites we monitor is rated excellent or good Many river sites and nearly all beach sites we monitor are safe for swimming most of the time. A few sites, such as Scorching Bay in Wellington city, have been safe 100% of the time The Parangarahu Lakes (Lakes Kohangatera and Kohangapiripiri) and Lake Pounui in South Wairarapa are in "high" or "excellent" ecological condition Three-quarters of monitored groundwater aquifers have "good" or "excellent" drinking water (an aquifer is an underground layer of rock, sand or gravel that contains water in usable amounts) WHAT S NOT SO GOOD Levels of PM10 ( ne particles in smoke) occasionally fail to meet the national standard in some sheltered areas of the Wairarapa Valley Soil health is not so good in vegetable growing and dairying areas More and more water is being allocated from aquifers, rivers and streams, mainly for farm irrigation A MIXED BAG and town water supply. Water levels in half of the 29 aquifer monitoring wells assessed in the Wairarapa Valley declined signi cantly between 1994 and 2011 Many small urban and agricultural streams have degraded water quality and ecological health Lake Wairarapa and neighbouring Lake Onoke and Lake Waitawa (on the Kapiti Coast) have very poor water quality Porirua Harbour s health is beginning to be affected by the build up of sediment, stormwater pollution and nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which can encourage excessive algae growth) Owhiro Bay on Wellington s south coast, Robinson Bay (Eastbourne) and beaches around Porirua (Porirua Harbour, South Beach at Plimmerton and Titahi Bay) are sometimes not safe for swimming WHAT WE RE DOING The reports give a clear guide about what the region needs to do differently to better manage these resources, says Greater Wellington Chair Fran Wilde. "We re now working with the community to develop a single, comprehensive plan for our natural resources. A top priority is protecting and improving freshwater quality and making sure there s enough water for everyone." Other things we re doing to improve our environment: The new Porirua Harbour and Catchment Strategy and Action Plan -- a joint Porirua City Council, Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington and Ngati Toa Rangatira project to improve the harbour s health Better rural soil and water quality -- we re working with farmers to encourage better management of stock around waterways, reduce soil erosion and improve water and soil quality Improving the health of the Mangatarere Stream (Carterton) -- a joint Carterton District Council, Greater Wellington, iwi, farmers and community project Wairarapa Moana Leadership Group -- Greater Wellington is part of this group, working to improve water quality and biodiversity, and eradicate pest plants in Lake Wairarapa Find out more about the health of air, land and water for the whole region and each of the sub-regions -- Wellington Harbour, Eastern Wairarapa hills, Wairarapa Valley, Porirua Harbour and Käpiti Coast gw.govt.nz/ser , This winter will see 28,000 hectares of possum control in the Rimutaka Ranges using 1080 poison baits applied by helicopter Most of the area is being done on behalf of the Animal Health Board to control bovine Tb, which is often passed on to cattle and deer by possums. About 7,000 hectares is being done to maintain a healthy forest in the Wainuiomata-Orongorongo Water Collection Area. For a map and more information about the whole operation, see gw.govt.nz. While this is a large area, 1080 poison is only used on about 10% of the land in our region where Greater Threats caused by possums • Spreading bovine Tb to cattle and deer • Spreading giardia and cryptosporidium to people through water supplies • Eating eggs and chicks of our native birds • Stripping native forest, killing trees and soil erosion Some bene ts of using aerial 1080 • Very effective at controlling possums, rats and stoats • Native forest and birds ourish with pests at low numbers • Biodegradable and doesn't stay in water or soil • Ef cient method for remote and rugged areas Some drawbacks of using aerial 1080 • 1080 baits and poisoned possum carcasses are lethal to dogs • Some people have strong views against its use Possum control -- how we do it Wellington controls possums. Traps and other poisons in bait stations are used throughout the vast majority of the region. Aerial 1080 is only one tool for controlling possums, but it s the most effective method in remote and rugged areas where it would be very dif cult and far more expensive to control possums to the required level by working on the ground. There are strong opinions on 1080 but in June 2011 the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment strongly endorsed the continued use of 1080 in New Zealand. To read the report, see pce.parliament.nz. For other independent research and reports on 1080 use in New Zealand, see 1080facts.co.nz
June 13th 2012
June 27th 2012