Daleton wetlands, where the mudfish will be moved to later this month. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

ELISA VORSTER
elisa.vorster@age.co.nz

Carterton’s meddling mudfish will finally move to their new home later this month thanks to a stroke of luck caused by recent severe weather.

Carterton District Council’s wastewater treatment plant upgrade project is already under way but faced a potential delay after the surprise discovery of an endangered mudfish population at the Daleton Farm area earmarked for storage reservoirs.

Rehoming the mudfish was planned for early November but hit a snag when the wetlands reserved for their new home were inadvertently damaged during early enhancement work of the area, causing a loss of water.

Since then, council officers have been doing all they can to find an alternate rehoming location, as the tender process has been finalised and work was set to begin before Christmas.

Luckily for the council, the heavy rains which hit the region have been a blessing for the mudfish, as the water has sealed the leak, making the habitat suitable.

The council’s infrastructure, planning and regulatory manager Dave Gittings said he was pleased the council could stick to the original plan.

“Now that the seal is secured and the water being pumped into the wetland is being retained, the mudfish relocation can go ahead,” he said.

“It’s important that the next stage of the wastewater project goes ahead as it is primarily for environmental purposes and reducing discharge to the waterways of the district – but not at the expense of the mudfish.

“Creating the wetlands has provided the appropriate environment and we are happy to be contributing positively to our local ecology.”

The council is now contacting pre-registered volunteers to help with creating the catch channels in the habitat, setting of the nets, and transportation of the mudfish and other related duties under the direction of a council freshwater ecologist.

The rehoming process is likely to go ahead during the Christmas period and is expected to take several days depending on how quickly the fish are caught in the existing habitat.

Volunteers can still register for the relocation project until December 17, by emailing the council at: casey@cdc.govt.nz