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Pimp my stream!

Many streams in the Raglan area have been undergoing an extreme makeover in recent years, and it’s not just to make them look pretty!
There are a whole range of practical reasons for all of the hard work and one of these is fish.
Our freshwater native fish, many of which have declining populations, need looking after. Restoring streams helps to protect our native fish and also creates benefits further downstream. “Pimping your stream” for example, by planting stream margins helps prevent silt from getting into the water where it can clog fish gills and make it difficult for fish to see food. You can also fence out your stock and limit pollutants such as farm runoff from getting into streams
Ultimately, stopping or at least minimising what ever goes down the stream — mud, silt, farm nutrients, effluent… means better breeding and feeding grounds for salt water fish too. Protecting and restoring streams to some of their former glory is a big challenge in a catchment the size of Raglan’s. Then again, Harbourcare, a well established local group, have shown what planting a million trees can achieve: big differences to water quality and native fish life both in the streams and in the harbour.
Our 50 species of freshwater native fish may be secretive, small, camouflaged, live in remote areas, or nocturnal, hiding under rocks and overhanging vegetation during the day, but they are special. Most of them — galaxiids, bullies, eels, lamprey, black flounder, torrentfish, smelt and mullet (to name a few) are found no where else in the world. Another unique feature is that many, despite being freshwater fish, need to migrate to the sea to complete their lifecycles — whitebait (actually 5 different species) is one example. Longfin eels are another example, travelling every year to deep waters off the coast of Tonga, and back home again to the very same creek.
If you are keen to learn more about our native freshwater fish and how to manage streams and the catchments they are a part of, join the NZ Landcare Trust and local partners on April 23 and 24 for a fun and informative workshop and field trip. See the advertisement for details.

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