Fish get free pass

A giant kokopu eyes the new construction... he could be.
A giant kokopu eyes the new construction… he could be.

Motorists on River Road aren’t the only ones enjoying a new stream crossing.

The journeys of native fish up and down the Te Awa O Katapaki Stream have been greatly enhanced with a special fish pass built within the large new box culvert recently installed for Hamilton City Council.

The stream flows into the Waikato River, beside the Horsham Downs Golf Course, and its large catchment is home to longfin eels and a number of declining native whitebait species including the giant kokopu and inanga.

Collaboration between council engineers, consultants Aecom and Waikato Regional Council has led to a ‘great result’, says regional council fisheries ecologist Bruno David.

Instead of having to swim through a previously perched and fast-flowing long corrugated culvert, fish can now take a breather among boulders and wired-in rock gabions that provide the ideal fish road underpass.

“It’s a great result for the native fishery and a really good example of multiple organisations working together for a good environmental outcome,’’ Dr David says.

“It’s important to keep that fishery highway open all the time. And you can’t have a healthy river fishery unless the streams and tributaries are fully connected to the main river. It just needs a bit of thought.’’

City Development manager Martin Mould says the city council balances development demands with environmental issues and it is pleased with the River Road culvert outcome.

“The culvert was in need of an upgrade, and this was a major infrastructure project due to the high volume of water flowing through the stream. With some innovative thinking and collaboration we have an excellent result for the fishery too.’’

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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