Such a splendid place to go fishing – pictures like this attract anglers from around the world to come and sample our world class fishing – the middle section of this stream has lost 1/4 of it flow - it's likely to dry completely if nothing is done!
Additional info: 16th June 2014 - Letter from CSI explaining why they won't act
23rd August 2014 CSI open letter reply
5th September 2014 FR Press Release
One of our iconic Canterbury Spring creeks sadly had an illegal diversion applied to it some time ago. This was found and raised with CSI F&G approximately 5/12/2011 - From the lack of vegetation and erosion to the side of the bank suggests the bank was most likely put in something during 2010, had it been in longer it would have been noticed during the annual salmon counts.
Above clearly shows the diversion. Previously only a small amount of water ran down the right hand side stream with most of the flow following the natural left hand channel.
The diversion bank itself has been removed with shovels by F&G staff and local help, however erosion had increased the size of the channel to beyond what can be fixed with shovels alone.
Here's an overview;
And the likely drying zone;
The effect of the diversion is likely to see this section of the natural main channel drying up completely in the near future, it has lost about 3/4 of its flow now, this will reduce the salmon spawning area and trout habitat, which will further diminished fishing opportunities in this fabulous back country stream. The next 4 pictures are of the pools that will be lost;
Here's a salmon spawning area, you can see the old reeds clearly in the de watered edges, the gavel indents are where they have dug their redds in the past - this will disappear completely;
Below shows the new channel, it holds little fisheries value as it is narrow and fast flowing over much of it's length, this first image is the worst piece;
Most of it looks like the the above, fast, narrow, with very little holding water
Below: There's lots of new erosion as you would expect in the diverted flow;
Another eroding corner in the diverted flow
Above: Causing the diverted flow to run dirty with silt where it rejoins the main stem again
So what's the problem with all of this?
Deep Creek was a superb back country spring creek, the scenery is stunning, the water gin clear, it's the epitome of the best that NZ offers, and therefore I rate it as world class - 4 km's of top quality trout water. The diversion removes 1.76kms of this water that will be lost forever.
Trout – Deep Creek contains reasonable numbers of above average size trout, there is a genuine opportunity to catch fish up to and above 10lbs.
Salmon - It provide spawning gravels utilised by a high percentage of salmon returning to the Rangitata river so is a very important salmon spawning stream.
It would still be a reasonably simple though now a bigger job to return the stream to how it was, without intervention all of the flow will most likely end up going down the diversion, about 3/4 of it now does.
The road block is that Fish & Game aren't convinced that restoring the stream is the right thing to do.
Unfortunately I believe F&G are mistaken, the reasons given for not restoring it are:
"Council believes mechanical restoration of flow to the true left braid as you have requested will increase erosion as well as threatening fenced grazing. While impacts on fencing and grazing are not issues for F&G to consider they are of concern to the landowner. We for see on-going erosion requiring river control and bank protection works. While increasing the flow in the true left braid will provide trout fishing habitat Council believes the threat to salmon spawning and rearing habitat in the reach and further downstream where 25% to 40% of salmon currently spawn outweighs the increase in water to is productive for trout fishing."
There are two area's where there is some natural erosion close to the fence, largely the stream is very stable, erosion is very slow in these types of spring creeks, - I've put together a report that details this here, there are some Google earth pics that show how little it's changed since 2006
And this is a picture of one of two areas in the main stem where there is some erosion close to the fence, you can see it's pretty minimal;
The above explanation is further flawed as there is a considerable amount of new erosion in the diverted flow, that erosion will be ongoing for many years as that narrow channel is scoured out by the increased flows and erodes a new bed for that increased flow
This superb back country stream is going to remain degraded unless we can convince F&G to act, it needs protection now!
If you agree with my concerns please email Central South Island Fish & Game and ask them to act;
(please ask that your message is forwarded to all Council members and staff)
Phone: 03 615-8400