Wairarapa News : October 26th 2011
Wairarapa's Home Loan Specialists phone 06 370 0070 Buying a HOME? need a LOAN? For a great deal, tailored to you, call WBS *Normal lending criteria apply. 75 Queen St Masterton • www.wbs.net.nz 4013006AD www.wairarapanews.co.nz WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2011 GRAND OPENING Carterton Events Centre 22 HEARTSTOPPING Rugby World Cup Final 3 SHOW TIME Wairarapa A&P Show 18 Dry ponds no home for eels By PIERS FULLER High and dry: Around 80,000 eels are thought to be living in the Masterton sewerage plant oxidation ponds. Up to 80,000 eels living in the Masterton sewerage plant oxidation ponds will have to find a new home -- possibly in the new ponds. When the three original ponds are decommissioned they will be drained and the sludge will all be removed. Masterton District Council special engin- eer Ian Steer says is it difficult to trap such a large number of eels in such an expansive area, so the fish will probably be left to find their way to a new home when the ponds are drained. Mr Steer says the eels may head to the Ruamahanga River nearby or choose to slither across to the brand new oxidation ponds that are currently being commissioned. He says the fish do not seem to have much of an effect on the operation of the oxidation ponds, so the council is not too concerned if they choose the new ponds. An estimate of the eel numbers was cal- culated by taking the number of eels found in farm dams, 3500 per hectare, and multi- plying this by the area of the existing ponds (32 hectares). We don't know what the density of the population is in the ponds -- there are a lot there, but whether it matches the density people are getting in farm dams- I don't know,'' says Mr Steer. When the new ponds are finished, the old ponds will be left for three to six months to allow all the solids and particles to settle out, then the water will be pumped off. As the water levels drop and expose the sludge, the best guess is that this should prompt the eels to find a new home. We expect the eels to take one of two paths. One is to the new ponds, the other path is exit the area altogether and go to the river,'' says Mr Steer. The longfin eel is now an endangered species in New Zealand while the shortfin's numbers remain comparatively healthy. The longfin is a variety more likely to be found in inland waterways and the shortfin is more common in brackish and coastal waters. It is not known which variety pre- dominate in the oxidation ponds but it is likely to be a mix of the two as the water is sedentary yet its location is inland. Joe Potangaroa of Rangitane o Wairarapa has written educational resources about the longfin eel and its rapid decline due to loss of habitat and commer- cial fishing. He says from a practical and cultural perspective they would prefer to see the eels relocated to the wild, rather than swimming around in shitty water''. Iwi offered to help relocate eels that were left high and dry when a wetland area was drained in South Wairarapa a few years ago and they would be prepared to help with eels in the ponds if necessary. Eels were the biggest source of protein that pre- European Maori had. Containers embark on final journey Hanging in the balance: Nearly 90 containers have fallen overboard from the crippled cargo ship Rena. Scientists predicted some could end up on the Wairarapa coast. While toxic oil from the crippled cargo ship Rena poses no threat to Wairarapa beaches, scientists say some of its containers could well float by in a matter of weeks. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) scientists were planning to release four buoys with tracking devices this week to gauge where the cur- rent may be taking the 29 unaccounted for containers that have fallen off the 47,000 tonne ship. Since the Rena ran aground on Astrolabe reef about three weeks ago, 88 containers have fallen overboard, causing oil-covered meat, plastics, animals skins and sacks of milk power to wash ashore from Mount Maunganui to the East Cape. Niwa ocean modelling specialist Dr Mark Hadfield says more debris could make its way down to the Wairarapa coast if it remains in the clutches of the east Auck- land current that runs down from East Cape. The currents in that area do move quite quickly, we could be talking a matter of weeks.'' Rubbish from the Rena could also continue as far south as Kaikoura and follow the current flow out towards the Chatham Islands and South America, he said. But a more likely scenario was a deep ocean current off the north east of the country sending them on a year-long loop of the Pacific if not collected. Basically, when these con- tainers hit the East Cape of New Zealand, they could go in hun- dreds of different directions,'' Dr Hadfield says.
October 19th 2011
November 2nd 2011