ECAN to be prosecuted under Conservation Act for stream damage

Canterbury’s regional council, ECAN, is being prosecuted after a valuable fish spawning stream was damaged by earthmoving machinery earlier this year.

ECAN’s prosecution under the Conservation Act is being brought by Central South Island Fish & Game Council (CSI).

The charge alleges that several times over approximately five weeks, a contractor engaged by ECAN disturbed spawning beds of trout and salmon in Bowyers Stream, an important spawning tributary of the Ashburton River.

The damage to the waterway and its spawning areas was discovered in June by Fish & Game officers who were conducting an annual survey of Bowyers Stream to measure the success of recent trout and salmon spawning.

CSI Fish & Game’s Chief Executive, Jay Graybill, says the damage was caused during late April through to the end of May this year.

“There were extensive tracks of earthmoving machinery throughout the stream bed and along its riparian edges.

“In some cases, earthworks had been constructed to divert water and those parts of the stream had lost all water as a result,” Mr Graybill says.

“In other areas, gravel appears to have been dumped into the stream, filling parts of it in.  These earthworks extended for over eleven kilometres of the stream and caused extensive damage and disturbance to the trout and salmon spawning beds.

“We are disappointed that ECAN ordered these works at the height of the salmon and trout spawning season without consulting CSI Fish & Game,” Mr Graybill says.

No date has been set for the case.