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Public invited to hear about earthquake effects on local waterways

Published: 13/04/2012 3:32 p.m. 

Christchurch residents are being invited to attend a free public seminar on the impact of the Canterbury earthquakes on local rivers and the estuary, in Lincoln on 26 April.

The morning session will focus on the effects of the earthquake on the city’s rivers, and the effects on the Avon-Heathcote Estuary / Ihutai will be the focus for the afternoon.

Studies have shown the character of many of Christchurch’s waterways changed following the 4 September 2010 and 22 February 2011 earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks.

Immediately following February’s earthquake large volumes of untreated wastewater were discharged in to the lower Avon River / Ōtākaro, the Heathcote River / Ōpāwaho, the Avon-Heathcote Estuary / Ihutai, and the sea.

Michele Stevenson, Environment Canterbury Surface Water Quality Scientist, said a number of studies were commissioned by Environment Canterbury and the Christchurch City Council to enable informed decisions to be made on important issues such as recreational water use, river bank stabilisation, and restoring flows.

The studies were carried out by a range of consultants and, in addition, staff from Crown Research Institutes and the University of Canterbury and Lincoln University have undertaken independent studies on the effects of the earthquakes on physical, chemical and biological aspects of our surface water environment.

“The physical characteristics of some of our waterways altered significantly following February’s earthquake. River bed levels changed, banks collapsed, and there were significant changes to the bed of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai.

“The discharge of sewage, trade waste and sediment-laden stormwater into waterways also altered the water chemistry which impacted on the local ecology including vegetation, fish, invertebrates and micro-organisms,” she said.

The seminar on 26 April will feature presentations from the Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management (University of Canterbury and Lincoln University), Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), NIWA, Aqualinc, EOS Ecology, Aquatic Ecology Ltd, Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council.

The seminar will conclude with a session on what is being done to remediate and restore the waterways.

Numbers are limited to the seminar and a light lunch will be provided courtesy of ESR.

RSVPs are to be sent to wendy.donald@ecan.govt.nz by 18 April.

Event Details

Public Seminar on earthquake effects on rivers and the estuary in Christchurch

Thursday, 26 April, 2012
9:00am – 5:00pm
Lincoln Events Centre, Meijer Drive, Lincoln

For more information visit: Ecological effects in Christchurch waterways

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