16 February 2016

A flooding pressure-point on the Uretara River will be relieved with a small scale gravel removal operation scheduled for this month.

“Natural gravel build-ups in the river can cause localised flooding and stream bank erosion. Gravel used to be extracted from the Uretara River regularly for roading and other commercial use but that stopped decades ago,” said Bay of Plenty Regional Council Land Management Officer Braden Rowson.

A total of approximately 1250 cubic metres of gravel will be removed from five sites along a one kilometre stretch of river between the Rawaka Drive and Wharawhara Road bridges.

Mr Rowson said that Regional Council has been working with nearby landowners to manage river bank erosion along that stretch of river for several years.

“We’ve taken cross-section measurements of the river and found that gravel accumulation is highest in that spot. We’ve now been able to team up with a local contractor and developer to get some of the gravel removed at no cost to Council or the landowners,” he said.  

The work is expected to take up to 10 days and is scheduled to start from 19 February. Mr Rowson warns that sediment disturbance during the extraction may make the water cloudy and less pleasant for downstream swimmers and other river users.

“That will only last for the duration of the work and we’ll have controls in place to minimise the amount of silt that’s mobilised. The work is timed to avoid native fish spawning and migration seasons. Some short-term sediment disturbance is unavoidable but the long term benefits of reduced stream bank erosion far outweigh the short term impacts.