Fish passage just got a whole lot better in northern Hawke’s Bay’s Aropaoanui River, in time for World Fish Migration Day (21 May).
Brian Cowper reported his concerns about a fish barrier. He felt a bridge protection structure was hindering fish and posted his concerns using Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s www.fishbarrier.co.nz portal.
The bridge is managed by Hastings District Council, who carefully placed interlocking boulders downstream of the built structure to gently lift the water level to the lip of the water flowing over it. In simple terms, the fish can now get through.
“Hastings District Council are happy to help out and proactive when it comes to fish passage, and we got onto this as soon we realised it was a problem,” said Hastings District Council transportation operations manager Les Glock.
Hawke’s Bay is a large region and difficult for council staff alone to find all of the barriers to fish migration.
Andy Hicks works as a water quality and ecology scientist for HBRC, and is an expert on native fish. He also manages the fish barrier reporting portal.
“We really hope the general public can help by reporting potential barriers on our portal,” said Andy Hicks.
Andy indicated that public use of the reporting service has so far been quite low, but hopes World Fish Migration Day will help remind people we can all help fish get access to habitat in our waterways.
HBRC has recently completed trials into a prototype floating fish ramp, providing an inexpensive, robust solution to many of the barriers in the region. Such barriers have cost thousands of dollars to fix in the past, but research by water quality and ecology technician Daniel Fake has confirmed that these new floating ramps will help inanga, eels, bullies and other native species to swim past structures that collectively deny fish access to kilometres of freshwater habitat.
“Ultimately each installation of the plastic ramps will cost around $200,” said Dan Fake, “so if you find any barriers out there, let the regional council know using www.fishbarrier.co.nz. We have a way to fix these structures at relatively low cost.”
Drew Broadley, Communications Manager|P 06 835 2632, 027 445 8290
Andy Hicks, Scientist – Water Quality and Ecology|P 06 833 8034, 027 536 9979
25 August 2016
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