Weir removal project wins two environmental awards


A project that opened up a South Taranaki river to native fish after 120 years has won two awards.

Te Korowai o Ngāruahine Trust led the charge to remove the disused 3m high spillway from Kaūpokonui Creek near Glenn Rd, about 5 km off the south coast of Taranaki.

It was finally retired in February after many years of work.

Bart Jansma, environmental policy advisor for the Te Korowai O Ngaruahine Trust, worked for at least 15 years to see the Glenn Rd spillway on the Kaupokonui Stream dismantled.

Catherine Groenestein / Tips

Bart Jansma, environmental policy advisor for the Te Korowai O Ngaruahine Trust, worked for at least 15 years to see the Glenn Rd spillway on the Kaupokonui Stream dismantled.

The project was announced last week as the second place winner in the “River Story” category of the Cawthron New Zealand River Awards.

And the iwi trust also won an environmental award from the Taranaki regional council for environmental action in the community, for the project.

READ MORE:
* The award recognizes a precedent for the restoration of the Taranaki River
* Taranaki environmental champions honored with annual awards
* The old Taranaki spillway was finally removed after 20 years of battle

The structure had restricted fish passage to about 85% of the stream, as well as the entire Dunns and Little Dunns Creek watershed and many unnamed tributaries, resulting in a significant reduction in abundance and richness of fish, Bart Jansma, environmental politician said Te Korowai O Ngaruahine Trust advisor.

Funding of $ 25,000 to remove the spillway was provided by the trust, STDC, Fish and Game Taranaki, Fonterra and TRC.

Up to fifteen native fish species can now navigate freely upstream, said Paddy Deegan, TRC freshwater scientist.

The dam, finally removed in February, had closed the river to native fish for 120 years.

Catherine Groenestein / Tips

The dam, finally removed in February, had closed the river to native fish for 120 years.

“The spillway was preventing access to a significant amount of habitat for many of these species, some of which are threatened or threatened with population decline.

“Even one of our sportiest fish, the lamprey (piharau), struggled to navigate the dam, which unfortunately resulted in the deaths of over 100 adults in 2020.”


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