Looking after our waterways

New Zealand is home to all kinds of unique ecosystems containing plants and animals that are found nowhere else in the world. Without healthy freshwater environments, many of our unique taonga such as fish, birds, and plants wouldn’t be able to survive. Locally, the Tyers Stream network, which runs from Khandallah Park to the bottom of Ngauranga Gorge, contains insects, koura, fish and eels.

At ORCA’s Looking after our Waterways evening on 15 September, around 45 members of the community were informed of the path and history of the Tyers Stream and its fish life. We were reminded of the damage human behaviour can do to the water purity.

Resident and freshwater conservation and management expert, Neil Deans, described the variety of species living in the Tyers/Waitohi Streams network and Lynn Cadenhead, whose property borders Tyers Stream, provided photos of the many pollution events that have occurred in the stream and her ongoing monitoring and reporting to authorities.

Tyers Stream (c) Lynn Cadenhead

James Luty, a senior Environmental Protection Officer and Nick Pearson, Resource Advisor for Greater Wellington Regional Council said, “Everything that goes into the gutter ends up in local streams and eventually the sea via our storm water system. ” An example of common human behaviour is car washing. It was alarming to learn that car washing can transmit pollutants like detergent, dirt, metal particles and oils, directly to our streams where they can seriously affect fish and other aquatic life.

Ways to Keep our Waterways Clean

  • Pick up any litter you see around the streets, such as cans, plastic bags and cigarette butts
  • Pick up your dog’s droppings – washed into storm water they increase bacteria levels in our rivers
  • If you can, clean your car on the lawn – ideally without carwash solutions – or take it to a car wash
  • Sweep up grass clippings and leaves and put them on your garden; don’t hose them into drains
  • Clean paint brushes in the laundry sink or in a bucket that you tip somewhere in your garden
  • Leave small left-overs of paint and solvents to dry rather than pouring them down the drain
  • Take household chemicals, waste oil etc. to the specific sections at official landfills
  • Shovel up soil, rubbish and cement when you build
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