Bay of Plenty Regional Council Deputy Chair Jane Nees acknowledged the efforts of
“Healthy waterways and environments are the foundation of a thriving community. This project has taken hard work, investment and collaboration from many local people and landowners over many years. It’s a great example of what can be achieved when everyone works together,” said Councillors Nees.
“Today marks a turning point for estuary health but it doesn’t stop here. We’ve got more work to do, and many other projects already underway, to keep improving water quality and wildlife habitat throughout the Kaituna catchment,” she said.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Kaituna Catchments Manager Pim
“There had been a noticeable decline in estuary health since the Kaituna River was diverted out to sea at Te Tumu Cut in 1956 by the Crown and Regional River Board for land drainage purposes. The estuary had silted up, become choked with algae, and birds and fish had lost their breeding and feeding grounds.
“Through this project, up to 20 percent (600,000m3) of the Kaituna River’s flows will now be returned to the estuary on every tidal cycle, while maintaining existing levels of flood protection and boat access through the Te Tumu Cut,”
Bay of Plenty Regional Council has invested $16.6m (including design, consultation, consenting and land acquisition costs) to complete the project.
J Swap Contractors Limited began construction work in June 2018 and have now completed it, on budget and five months ahead of schedule. They have widened the Ford’s Cut Channel, moved and upgraded
The contractors installed a new salinity block downstream of the new channel, to reduce saltwater intrusion into the upper estuary, and upgraded the Ford Road boat ramp facilities. They also re-contoured low-lying paddocks beside the upper estuary, to create 20 hectares of estuarine wetland. Volunteers have helped to plant the new wetland called Te Pā Ika with 65,000 native plants.
“For the first year of
“The increased flushing and improved salinity balance that the restored river flow will bring, along with the 20 hectares of wetland we’ve re-created, will help the estuary to recover and become healthier for fish and wildlife to live in, and people to enjoy,” he said.