Carterton Mayor John Booth inspects one of the nets retrieved by Wildlands ecologist Helen McCaughan, while councillors Mike Ashby, Jill Greathead and chief executive Jane Davis watch on. PHOTOS/ELISA VORSTER
The endangered mudfish which have been causing a bit of a stir at the site of Carterton’s new wastewater treatment plant are finally moving to their new home.
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.
However, nobody could say precisely how many mudfish there were until the trapping process began this week.
The first stage on Monday saw the capture of eels in the area, which are considered a predator to mudfish.
Nets set on Tuesday night were lifted at the crack of dawn on Wednesday as councillors, council officers, Wildlands ecologists and volunteers waited in anticipation.
The trapping proved to be successful, with just over a dozen mudfish captured.
Infrastructure, planning and regulatory manager Dave Gittings said trapping would continue over the weekend.
“We will keep fishing and hopefully the number will decrease across the days,” he said.
He said the nets will be re-laid each day with an assessment of numbers to be carried out on Monday.
Work on the construction of a 200,000m3 effluent storage facility to harvest inflows will be able to begin once all the mudfish have been successfully relocated to the adjacent wetlands on Gallons Rd.
The relocation was originally set for early November but council officers faced another setback after the wetlands were inadvertently damaged during early enhancement work of the area, causing a loss of water.
The council’s luck turned around earlier this month when the heavy rain resealed the leak, making the wetlands rehoming feasible again.