Piha CoastCare was happy to be involved in the fun and informative Love Our Lagoons event organised by the team from Auckland Council. The event served to highlight community support for clean streams and lagoons in Piha and other West Coast villages. Piha CoastCare’s role was to waft the enticing smell of cooking onions and sausages across the Domain to draw to the attention of passers-by. The sausages were popular, as were other attractions on the day!
Wai Care offered opportunities for sampling water from the lagoon. They also took groups further up the Piha Stream to see what tiny plants and animals were living there – a popular event, especially for curious children. Council fish expert and guru Matt Bloxham took walks up the stream looking for larger stream inhabitants, and EcoMatters Trust were there to discuss where residents’ properties were located in relation to the stream catchment, and the importance of having a well functioning septic tank to avoid stream pollution.
A number of contributing faulty systems have been located through the current consultations being conducted by EcoMatters, and steps are being taken to encourage and support owners who wish to rectify these problems. The feedback from the day was that there is growing support in the community for Council to take a harder line on faulty septic tanks.
Chris Ferkins from Council Biodiversity was also there with information on the importance of maintaining a well vegetated streamside for effective filtration of contamination and shade to keep the water cool for the critters who live there. Phil Brown, the Land and Water Advisory Team Manager from Council gave an overarching view of all the elements that contribute to pristine streams and lagoons. Piha R&R were also there, advocating for regular flushing of the lagoon via a bulldozed channel across the beach as their primary recommendation in the quest to clean up the lagoon.
It was great to see the enthusiasm amongst the locals for cleaning up the lagoon. For more information on how you can get your septic tank assessed or take other measures to reduce lagoon pollution and promote healthy streams, contact Dan at EcoMatters Trust or Phil Brown at Auckland Council.