New Catchpool ford will improve access for people and fish
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionA new ford being built across the Catchpool Stream in the Rimutaka Forest Park will improve access for people visiting the park, and the native fish inhabiting the stream.
Date: 17 February 2010
A new ford being built across the Catchpool Stream in the Rimutaka Forest Park will improve access for people visiting the park, and the native fish inhabiting the stream.
Work begins on Monday (22 February) to replace the existing high maintenance ford, on the access road to the top car park, from where popular walking and tramping tracks into the park begin.
While access to this area will be restricted to four wheel drive vehicles for the six week duration of the project, the result will be improved access and safety for visitors, and unrestricted passage for spawning native fish.
The ford that is being replaced across
the Catchpool Stream
As access to the campground will also be restricted, the Department of Conservation (which manages the park) has provided an alternative temporary campsite halfway up the valley.
The new ford has been designed to withstand damage to infrastructure from flooding, said DOC Poneke Area visitor assets programme manager Peter Blaxter, explaining that its predecessor required considerable ongoing maintenance, and was creating a barrier to the natural movement of gravel downstream.
“This has artificially raised the river bed above the ford to a point that even minor rainfall events cause flooding and erosion of the road approaches.
“More than 20,000 visitors use this road each year and we want to make access as easy and risk-free as possible.”
The new design will also allow native fish access up stream to their preferred forested catchment habitat.
The old fish ladder at the ford was lost to flooding in 2004 and the one to two metre drop downstream of the ford is impassable for many native fish during normal flow periods. High water velocity through the small culverts during wet weather periods is also beyond the swimming capabilities of most native freshwater fish.
Twelve species of native freshwater fish have been recorded in the Catchpool stream, four of which are classed as chronically threatened under the DOC National Threat Classification System. Loss of habitat has contributed to their decline.