26 June 2020
Angler Update June 2020
ECan deputation - Pre lockdown discussions with ECan with a pencilled in deputation date for the June Council meeting (now further delayed). Requests for support to CSI F&G re deputation. DOC has helped by providing useful information including a recent fish and macroinvertebrate survey. Information request to MFE received.
As part of our agreement with the RDR the appeal group attended March and April (Zoom) meetings with the RDR re the fish screen and by-pass design – some disappointment at the lack of design progress, with concerns the screen will miss the scheduled 30-month installation requirement
March meeting with the Minister of Conservation – highlighting Rangitata issues – Minister suggests taking a deputation to ECan re a cap on abstractions, via a Statutory Plan for the river
While separate to the appeal, a lot is changing, with projects researching various aspects of the river, combined research from DOC, NIWA and ECan appears on the table. ECan are conducting a survey of the fish in the Hapua area, NIWA are working on researching flood harvesting effects on braided rivers, DOC have indicated numerous areas of interest and completed a Macroinvertebrate and Fish species survey recently
What we have achieved to date
At the May 2019 mediation the Anglers agreed to settle with the RDR. A significant offer was made by the RDR and proceeding with the court action would likely mean we would lose those gains, particularly the monitoring, so the pragmatic decision was made to settle.
The appeal still continues however as Ngai Tahu are still appealing, and the Judge won’t sign off on our settlement until that has finished, hopefully sometime later in the year. Our settlement is of course dependant on whether Ngai Tahu are successful or not in their appeal
The gains Anglers achieved in settling
RDR agreed to extend the Monitoring program to include the important lower river, so the monitoring will extend from the RDR intake down to the sea
Our expert witnesses agreed with the details within the monitoring program, insuring it covered the necessary areas of concern.
While we don’t have the exact figure; the value of the monitoring program is said to be in the region of $1.2 – $1.5M
The monitoring program has been extended from 2 to 3 years, so 3 years prior to the first water take, and then for another 3 years while the take is operational
The consent conditions have been considerably strengthened from the original decision, significantly there is now a process in place to determine what to do should the monitoring identify adverse effects
We have signed an additional agreement with the RDR in which the RDR agrees to help fund an additional 2-dimensional hydrodynamic modelling program for the river with a shared contribution of up to 100K.
There is the possibility that the court upon reviewing the conditions may further strengthen them, particularly condition 16.At the early mediation Anglers asked for and were granted a seat at the table in the fish screen design and verification process. This process is now underway
Other substantial gains
As a result of our initial proof of concept LIDAR study, (late January 2019) and following presentations to various interested parties, ECan has agreed to fund the full baseline LIDAR survey of the Rangitata River from the RDR to the ocean. This study is valued at 68K. Hopefully this type of study will be extended to all Canterbury Rivers.
The Angler Group was granted maximum $50K from the ELA to help fund the appeal which has nearly been exhausted. The shortfall in funds has been met from individual donations and the three angler groups involved in the appeal have each provided significant amounts both in $$ and time to the appeal
We believe it’s important to gather further information about the river to make sure we are not caught short again when future water abstractions come along as surely, they will. The river monitoring will provide a lot of info but is still going to take some time to completed.
- Deputation to ECan – Rangitata Statutory Plan (July hopefully)
- Comparative Study, comparing the Rangitata to other rivers, and comparing old photos with the current situation, noting changes that have occurred, identifying apparent trends, and collating the information for use against future consent applications. Discussions have occurred on this between other parties so looks like there is an interest in this occurring
- And an Oral History to record the values associated with the river from long term uses, this will be done scientifically so that info can be available for future reference. One has recently been completed on the Selwyn River so ours would take a similar approach, though of course, aimed more at the fisheries values. We anticipate postgraduate student will undertake this work
- Angler update public meeting with RDRML to discuss progress of fish screen design, bypass, and verification process
RDR Appeal Team