Hinds River RIP

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Steve
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Hinds River RIP

Post by Steve » Thu May 06, 2021 11:05 am

We (The NZFFA) did a nitrate testing run down around the Hinds River with the NZFFA's portable tester, and I wrote up this report on what we found - grim reading for those of us that know this place

The Environment, Canterbury
Hit after hit after hit…Just how bad does it have to get….??

Image
Hinds River, Mid Canterbury, Surveyors Road Bridge, upstream view 25th April 2021


You would think that having a nitrate level of around 6.5mg/l, most of your flow removed, and all your fish gone would be enough of an environmental hit, but no, it appears some think more was needed, a bulldozer has recently driven down the river, mostly with its blade down, no doubt to facilitate the spray truck which has followed spraying all and sundry including the water!
Just what is wrong with the decision makers who would allow such a complete and overwhelming environmental catastrophe to take place?
Out of the way and clearly out of mind for most, it is on this little stream this person learnt to fish many moons ago
Significant change started some 15 years ago, bit by bit, first all the little fish disappeared, then slowly with no replacements, the larger adults went too. Then a dry season followed and the water all but dried up, and that was that - it has never recovered since
The reasons are quite clear, the lower river is mostly fed from springs that in turn are fed from ground water. My view is the change from border dyke to spray irrigation reduced the amount of ground water recharge, so less water for the springs. Critically for the river, it also meant the existing ground water irrigation takes, consented when the ground water levels were much higher, are taking water from an environment with less capacity, i.e., a reduced volume of ground water storage. These combined impacts mean the ground water has been drawn down lower than it naturally would be, and therefore the flow in the river is now exceptionally low.

Image
Pump shed beside a dry drain, the pump was still running, undoubtedly abstracting from the ground water below the drain


A long with the changes in the type of irrigation used, a large proportion of the irrigated land has converted to dairy, where urine produced nitrate easily leaches through the thin topsoil to find its way into the ground water system, hence the high nitrate levels in the river.

Image
The graph shows the nitrate levels over recent years


The Hinds River is within the receiving environment for the recently re-consent MHV irrigation scheme. A huge scheme with 56500 hectares re-consented. There are no other industries within the area – it is all farmland – the source to the nitrates cannot be disputed.

Image
The Receiving Environment - This is looking down river off the same bridge


The Mayfield-Hinds-Valetta (MHV) irrigation scheme was recently re-consented non notified, meaning the public were excluded from having their say on this scheme and the clear impacts on the environment.
Environment Canterbury are responsible for river flood control work, which is likely the reason for the bulldozing and spraying of the riverbed.

Steve Gerard
NZFFA Executive
Trustee Future Rivers Trust
Mid Canterbury
02/05/2021



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fraser hocks
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Re: Hinds River RIP

Post by fraser hocks » Thu May 06, 2021 12:33 pm

Yea Steve, but all the dollars of milk powder sales overseas are far more important than the environment. :cry:

I'm still not sure why they call groups like that Environment Canterbury when they should be called something more like "Environment Sale Canterbury" or "Environment Decimation Canterbury" :x


Bucking trends in fly fishing since 1970!

icthusiast
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Re: Hinds River RIP

Post by icthusiast » Fri May 07, 2021 7:37 am

:evil: :cry: :evil:

And nothing will change while the consequences of the business are not recognised as a $ cost of the business and therefore become a $ cost on the business!

I remember visiting the Hinds only a couple of times: once when my skills were not up to the task of what I remember as a very pleasant stream with a good number of fish of reasonable size; the second, a few years later, when the decline appeared to have set in and it was pretty clear it would not be worth visiting ever again! :cry:


All the best
GarthS
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Andy W
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Re: Hinds River RIP

Post by Andy W » Mon May 24, 2021 8:15 am

This might get some traction on the nitrate issue - something that medical professionals have been warning woman of living in the so-called Red-Zone of Dunsandel of for some time, and equally applicable to all of Canterbury now: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health ... erm-births



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Steve
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Re: Hinds River RIP

Post by Steve » Mon May 24, 2021 10:06 pm

Thanks Andy, I haven't heard of that, so interesting, but more concern for local mums, and what other impacts are there on other organisms. The evidence is building, but does anyone care enough to change things.

They are still letting em do it https://www.newsroom.co.nz/irrigation-e ... rsial-farm



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