​Proposed new rules and regulations for the Dunedin & Coast Freshwater Management Unit (FMU)

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Environmental outcomes

Target attribute states

FMU provisions

Environmental flows and levels and limits on take, diversion and damming of water

Lakes

River catchments

Aquifers

Outstanding water bodies

Economic profile and snapshot

 

 

This summary provides an overview of the provisions relating to the Dunedin and Coast Freshwater Management Unit (FMU). This includes environmental outcomes, target attribute states and area-specific rules and limits. The rules and limits are in addition to those in the region-wide rules covered in the other summaries.

If you are unsure of any particular terms, there is a ​​glossary of terms.

Recent content updates:

  • 13 October 2023:
    • Amended information on cultivation in Table 2 for clarity

  • 26 September 2023:
    • Added proposed environmental flows, level and take limits for lakes, rivers and aquifers and added information regarding whether further allocation of water is available

  • 25 September 2023:
    • Added Dunedin & Coast FMU boundary map

  • 24 September 2023:
    • Added timeframe for achieving the environmental outcomes for target attribute states
    • Added information regarding 'matters of control' in table 2

A map of the Dunedin and Coast FMU boundary is shown below.

Dunedin & Coast FMU map.

 

Environmental outcomes

In its new Land and Water Regional Plan ORC must set environmental outcomes for the freshwater values identified in the Dunedin and Coast FMU. An environmental outcome statement describes the desired future state that communities in the Dunedin and Coast FMU and tangata whenua would like to see for a specific value.  

The environmental outcome statements are very similar across all FMUs and rohe in Otago, which reflects the fact that the aspirations that tangata whenua and the different communities have for the environment are largely consistent across the region. Table 1 sets out the draft environmental outcomes for the Dunedin and Coast FMU. 

 

Table 1: Draft environmental outcomes 

Value 

Environmental Outcomes for Dunedin and Coast FMU 

Attributes to measure and monitor 

 

NPS-FM compulsory values (apply to every FMU/rohe) 

Ecosystem health  

Freshwater bodies support healthy freshwater ecosystems with thriving habitats for a range of indigenous species, and the life stages of those species, that would be expected to occur naturally.    

Rivers: 

Ammonia 

Nitrate 

Suspended fine sediment 

E. Coli 

Dissolved reactive phosphorus 

Periphyton 

Macroinvertebrates (MCI/ASPM) 

Fish IBI

E. Coli primary contact sites 

Macroinvertebrates (QMCI) score

Deposited fine sediment*

Dissolved oxygen*

Ecosystem metabolism*

 

Lakes:  

Phytoplankton (Chlorophyll-a) 

Total nitrogen 

Total phosphorus 

Ammonia 

Cyanobacteria*

Submerged plants (natives)*

Submerged plants (invasive)*

Lake-bottom dissolved oxygen*

Mid-hypolimnetic dissolved oxygen*

Human contact 

Water bodies are clean and safe for human contact activities and support the health of people and their connections with water bodies. 

Rivers: 

E. Coli 

Suspended fine sediment  

Periphyton 

E. Coli primary contact sites 

Lakes: 

Phytoplankton (Chlorophyll-a) 

Cyanobacteria (Biovolume cubic millimetres per litre) 

Threatened species  

The freshwater habitats of threatened species are protected and support the persistence and recovery of threatened species over time. 

All the attributes listed for Ecosystem Health above. 

 

Recency of presence 

National conservation category and status 

Regional conservation category and status 

Number of sub-populations 

Mahika kai (food and resource gathering) 

Mahika kai resources are restored to a condition in which populations of valued mahika kai species are self-sustaining and plentiful enough to support cultural take. 

Mana whenua are able to safely access, harvest and use these resources now and in the future. 

All the attributes listed for Ecosystem Health above. 

 

Other values (apply to every FMU/rohe) 

Natural form and character 

Freshwater bodies and their riparian margins, and any connected receiving environment including any estuaries and hāpua (lagoon) are able to behave in a way that reflects their natural form and character to the greatest extent practicable, and the natural form and function of unmodified water bodies is protected. 

Rivers: 

Suspended fine sediment 

Periphyton 

Macroinvertebrates (QMCI) score*

Deposited fine sediment*

Lakes: 

Phytoplankton (Chlorophyll-a)*

Cyanobacteria*

Submerged plants (natives)*

Submerged plants (invasive)*

 Lake-bottom dissolved oxygen*

Mid-hypolimnetic dissolved oxygen*

Drinking water supply 

Provided the health and wellbeing needs of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems are met, source water from water bodies (after treatment) is safe and reliable for the drinking water supply needs of the community. 

Activities do not introduce or increase the concentration of contaminants in water, so that, after existing treatment, it no longer meets drinking water standards 

Information available soon.

Wāhi tūpuna (sites of significance to iwi) 

Cultural associations with wāhi tūpuna are maintained, visible, and whānau are able to access, use and relate to wāhi tūpuna now and in the future. 

Information available soon.

Fishing 

Fish are safe to eat; and  

Insofar as it is consistent with the protection of indigenous and threatened species, the spawning and juvenile rearing waters for trout and salmon are provided for. 

Rivers: 

E. Coli 

Suspended fine sediment  

Periphyton 

Nitrate 

Suspended fine sediment 

Macroinvertebrates (MCI/ASPM) 

Fish IBI  

Macroinvertebrates (QMCI) score*

 

Lakes: 

Phytoplankton (Chlorophyll-a) 

Cyanobacteria (Biovolume cubic millimetres per litre)*

Irrigation, cultivation and production of food and beverages 

Provided the health and wellbeing of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems and human health needs are met, the cultivation and production of food, beverages and fibre is enabled. 

Suspended fine sediment 

Periphyton 

Water quantity 

Wetlands 

Wetlands are protected, and their ecosystem health, indigenous biodiversity, and hydrological functioning is restored where degraded. 

Information available soon.

Taoka species (treasured species) 

Thriving, connected habitats for indigenous species are restored and sustained for ever and their mauri is intact. 

Information available soon.

 

Values that apply to specific FMU 

Commercial and industrial use  

Provided the health and wellbeing of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems and human health needs are met, commercial and industrial activities are enabled. 

Suspended fine sediment 

Periphyton 

Water quantity 

¹*Asterisk indicates that the baseline state of these compulsory attributes is not known, but monitoring is now being undertaken.

 

Target attribute states

Attributes are indicators that we can measure and monitor. Attributes tell us about the state of a river or lake. A target attribute state (TAS) is the state that an attribute must achieve to make sure that an environmental outcome is met. The timeframe for achieving the TAS for each FMU is set by the environmental outcomes for the FMU.  For the Dunedin and Coast FMU, the environmental outcomes are to be achieved by 2040. By monitoring attributes and comparing their baseline state with their TAS we learn how well how well we are on track towards achieving the environmental outcomes for this FMU. 

While the environmental outcome statements are largely consistent across Otago, baseline states and TAS are usually specific to each FMU and rohe. Attributes for each value and baseline states for those attributes have been identified along with trends derived from the Otago Regional Council's State of the Environment (SoE) monitoring data. 

The baseline state and TAS for the Dunedin & Coast FMU are in the map below.

Zoom into an area and view the various locations of proposed monitoring sites in an area(s).

Select the yellow dot representing a proposed monitoring site to see the Target Attribute States.

You can further select the Target Attribute States table to view a larger version of the table.

(Note: If you are on a mobile device, tap on the arrow next to the 'X' icon for the table to show.)

 

FMU provisions

National direction requires Council to set limits as rules or action plans (as appropriate) to achieve the environmental outcomes. This can be done at a region-wide level or at FMU/rohe level. The draft region-wide rules are set out in different chapters, including Primary Production, Wastewater Management, Stormwater Management, Earthworks and Drilling, Environmental Flows and Limits (Water Quantity) and various others. However, for the Dunedin and Coast FMU a number of specific rules are proposed that are needed to make sure the environmental outcomes for this FMU are achieved overtime. These additional rules, which will be included in the Dunedin and Coast FMU chapter of the new Land and Water Regional Plan, are shown in the table below.  

 

Table 2: Overview of proposed additional provisions for Dunedin and Coast FMU 

Contaminants of concern

Draft LWRP

Rivers:

  • Periphyton (TNTP)
  • MCI and ASPM
  • E. Coli
  • NNN
  • DRP
  • Suspended fine sediment

Groundwater:

  • Arsenic
  • Consent required for dairy farming and dairy support which allows all activities on farm to be considered in order to require reductions in contaminant losses. Controlled activity status with conditions:
    • the dairy farm is existing
    • has a freshwater farm plan
    • average stocking rate no greater than 2.5 cows per hectare
    • livestock are wintered on the land
    • synthetic nitrogen fertiliser cap of 100 kgs per hectare per year

  • Matters of control are:
    • the content of, and compliance with, the farm’s certified freshwater farm plan
    • the timing of any actions or good management practices proposed to achieve the environmental outcomes for the FMU
    • methods to avoid or mitigate adverse effects of the activity on water quality
    • methods to reduce contaminant loss
    • stocking rates
  • If controlled activity conditions cannot be met, the activity requires a discretionary consent.

  • Increase setbacks for high-risk activities, such as intensive winter grazing and stock access near waterways.
    • all livestock (including sheep) on low slope land of 10 metres from the beds of wide rivers (over 1 metre) and 3 metres from smaller continually flowing rivers
    • with a transition time of 10 years for existing fences.

  • Cultivation permitted subject to conditions relating to setbacks from waterbodies, depending on slope.
    • 5m on a slope of less than 10 degrees
    • 10 metres on slopes between 10 and 20 degrees
  • Cultivation on slopes over 20 degrees, only permitted if the following conditions are met:
    • for the renewing or establishing of pasture only,
    • using no tillage or direct seed drilling only
    • 10 m setbacks from water bodies and wetlands.
  • If the permitted activity conditions cannot be met the activity requires a discretionary consent. 

  • More stringent management of harvesting of plantation forestry, for example by requiring wider setbacks from water bodies, or requiring consent where activities are currently permitted under the NES-PF.

 

Environmental flows and levels and limits on take, diversion and damming of water

The Dunedin and Coast FMU chapter will also include take limits and environmental flows and levels for rivers, lakes and aquifers in this FMU.

Take limits reflect the total quantity of water that can be taken, dammed or diverted from a stream, river, lake or aquifer. Once the combined rate of take for all consented water takes, diversion or damming activities from a water body matches this take limit no further water can be allocated in new consents.

Environmental flows (for rivers or streams) or environmental levels (for lakes and aquifers) include minimum flows or levels that when reached all consented (and some permitted) takes, diversions and damming activities must cease. These restrictions on water taking, diversions or damming activities typically occur during dry periods and are needed to make sure after important values, such as threatened fish, drinking water supply or mahika kai (food and resource gathering) values, are looked after.

 

Lakes

Environmental levels and take limits for the lakes in the Dunedin and Coast FMU are shown in the table below. 

Given its high values and uniqueness, it is proposed that a narrative take limit is set for Tomahawk Lagoon. This limit will prohibit any new takes, damming or diversions that could impact water levels in this lagoon (except for takes that are permitted under the Resource Management Act 1991).  As there are currently no consents for the taking, damming or diversion of water from the lagoon, the prohibition will ensure that this water body will continue to behave naturally.   

The Dunedin and Coast FMU also contains three controlled lakes or reservoirs: the Ross Creek Reservoir, Sullivans Dam and the Southern Reservoir. Because these reservoirs are located within the Water of Leith and Kaikorai Stream catchments, any takes from these reservoirs will be subject to the take limits that apply to these river catchments, and water levels of these reservoirs will be managed by the environmental flows that apply to these catchments.  

Table 3: Environmental levels and take limits for lakes 

Name 

Environmental level(s) 

Take limit (l/s) 

Further allocation available (estimate based on best available information) 

Natural lakes (unmodified) 

Tomahawk Lagoon 

Natural minimum water level 

Narrative - no new taking, diversions, damming or discharges from the lake or upper catchment 

No 

Controlled lakes 

 

Ross Creek Reservoir (Water of Leith catchment) 

Sullivans Dam (Water of Leith catchment) 

Lake level managed by the minimum flow of the Water of Leith (tbc) 

Subject to the take limit of Water of Leith 

No 

Southern Reservoir (Kaikorai Stream catchment) 

Lake level managed by the minimum flow of Kaikorai stream (tbc) 

Subject to the take limit of Kaikorai Stream catchment 

No 

 

River catchments

Environmental flows and take limits for the Dunedin and Coast FMU’s rivers are shown in the table below.  Take limits and environmental flows are often set as a percentage of the 7-day Mean Annual Low Flow (7-day MALF).  The 7-day MALF is a flow statistic that provides an indication of how low the flow gets in a typical year. 

For smaller rivers or streams with a mean flow of 5,000 l/s or less, such as Orokonui Creek or Otokia Creek, a total take limit is set as 20% of 7-day MALF. For larger rivers with mean flow of more than 5,000 l/s, such as the Tokomairiro River, a larger take limit is set at 30% of the 7-day MALF.  

Restrictions on water takes, diversions and damming activities in catchments of smaller rivers or streams are triggered when flows are at 90% of the 7-day MALF, whereas for larger rivers these restrictions do not kick in until flows are at 80% of the 7-day MALF.   

Table 4 provides estimates of the actual minimum flows and take limits for different catchments based on the default method using the best available information to determine the 7-day MALF of each catchment. The numeric minimum flows and take limits will not be included in the LWRP. Instead, the LWRP will refer to the relevant % of 7-day MALF. 

 

Table 4: Rivers managed by default minimum flows and take limits

Name Environmental flow (l/s) Take limit (l/s) Further allocation available (estimate based on best available information)

River catchments with a mean flow ≤ 5,000 l/s and managed by default limits

  • Minimum flow set as 90% of 7-day MALF
  • Take limit set as 20% of 7-day MALF

Abernethys Creek 

92 

20 

Yes 

Akatore Creek 

373 

83 

Yes 

Alexanders Creek 

90 

20 

Yes 

Battery Creek 

105 

23 

Yes 

Baynes Creek 

126 

28 

Yes 

Big Creek 

335 

75 

Yes 

Bull Creek 

107 

24 

Yes 

Carey's Creek 

129 

29 

Yes 

Coutts Gully Stream 

11 

Yes 

Craigs Creek 

124 

28 

Yes 

Drivers Creek 

199 

44 

Yes 

Fern Stream 

258 

57 

Yes 

Finnies Creek 

123 

27 

Yes 

Flax Stream 

224 

50 

Yes 

Jennings Creek 

123 

27 

Yes 

Johnstons Creek 

55 

12 

Yes 

Jones Creek 

No 

Kaikorai Stream 

118 

26 

Yes 

Mabel Creek 

174 

39 

Yes 

Morris Creek 

200 

44 

Yes 

Nobles Stream 

138 

31 

Yes 

Okia Creek 

171 

38 

Yes 

Omimi Creek 

407 

91 

Yes 

Orokonui Creek 

116 

26 

Yes 

Otokia Creek 

251 

56 

Yes 

Purakaunui Creek 

159 

35 

Yes 

Reids Stream 

Yes 

Roberstons Creek 

229 

51 

Yes 

Rocky Valley Creek 

403 

89 

Yes 

Shagree Creek 

15 

Yes 

Smiths Creek 

155 

35 

Yes 

Stewarts Creek 

126 

28 

Yes 

Styles Creek 

212 

47 

Yes 

Taylors Creek 

138 

31 

Yes 

Thomson Creek 

302 

67 

Yes 

Tomahawk Creek 

163 

36 

Yes 

Tomahawk Lagoon 

200 

44 

Yes 

Wangaloa Creek 

500 

111 

Yes 

Washpool Creek 

548 

122 

Yes 

Weipers Creek 

184 

41 

Yes 

River catchments with a mean flow > 5,000 l/s and managed by default limits

  • Minimum flow set as 80% of 7-day MALF
  • Take limit set as 30% of 7-day MALF

Tokomairiro River

407 

152 

Yes 

 

For the Waitati River and Water of Leith river catchments the Otago Regional Council proposes to set interim take limits and environmental flows according to the default method above. These will be implemented through the resource consent replacement process. However, prior to this resource consent replacement process Council will assess whether there is a need to set bespoke minimum flows and take limits for these rivers through a plan change process. Given the current level of water use and allocation, these rivers will in effect be either fully allocated or over-allocated and any new taking of water will not be available.

Table 5 provides estimates of the actual minimum flows and take limits for different catchments based on the default method using the best available information to determine the 7 day MALF of each catchment. The numeric minimum flows and take limits will not be included in the LWRP. Instead, the LWRP will refer to the relevant % of 7-day MALF.

Table 5: Rivers managed by interim default minimum flows and take limits

Name 

Environmental flow (l/s) 

Take limit (l/s) 

Further allocation available (estimate based on best available information) 

River catchments where default limits will be set as interim limits to be given effect to at the time of consent renewal, unless bespoke limits are set  

Waitati River 

270 

60 

No 

Water of Leith 

294 

65 

No 

 

For river catchments where a transition may be needed to achieve the environmental outcomes of the catchment and phase out over-allocation, it is proposed to set a common consent duration expiry date for any new consent granted under the LWRP framework, the proposed common catchment date for rivers where this will apply in the Dunedin and Coast FMU is 2030. 

 

Aquifers

The Dunedin and Coast FMU contains one known aquifer, the Tokomairiro Plain Groundwater Management Area. 

For this aquifer a take limit will be set based on a proportion (35%) of the aquifer’s mean annual. National direction requires Otago Regional Council also to set environmental levels for this aquifer. The Otago Regional Council does not have sufficient groundwater level monitoring data to set environmental levels in the Land and Water Regional Plan when it will be notified. Therefore, environmental levels for the Tokomairiro Plain Groundwater Management Area will be set at a later date. 

Table 6 provides an estimate of the actual takes limit for the aquifer based on the default method using the best available information to determine the aquifer’s Mean Annual Recharge (MAR). The numeric take limit will not be included in the LWRP. Instead, the LWRP will refer to the relevant % of the MAR. 

 

Table 6: Aquifers managed by default take limits

Name 

Environmental level(s) 

Take limit (volume in m³/year) 

Further allocation available (estimate based on best available information)

Aquifers managed by default limits 

  • Take limit: 35% mean annual recharge  

Tokomairiro Plain Groundwater 

Not required to be included in the new LWRP at this time 

1,645,000 

Yes 

 

Outstanding water bodies

Outstanding water bodies are water bodies that have one or more outstanding values. National direction requires the Otago Regional Council to identify outstanding water bodies and protect their important values. The table below lists the outstanding water bodies in this FMU and describes their outstanding values.

Below is a map featuring all the water bodies in Otago.

You can zoom in and view the various water bodies in an area(s).

Water bodies are shown in a blue colour. Select an area to view the water body name.

(Note: if you are on a mobile device, after selecting a water body, tap on the arrow next to the 'X' icon to view more information.)

Unique identifier 

Site identifier 

Values and characteristics 

Ecology 

ECL39 

Tokomairaro River 

  • The Tokomairiro River catchment has a high and unusual diversity of non-diadromous galaxiids including Taieri flathead galaxias, Pomahaka galaxias and Eldon’s galaxias. 

  • Other native fish species include Banded kōkopu, Black flounder, Common bully, Common smelt, Flathead galaxias, Inanga, Lamprey, Longfin eel, Redfin bully, Shortfin eel, Upland Bully. 

ECL40 

Ōkia Wetland Management Area 

  • The Ministry of Environment lists Okia Flat as having sections or sites of potential national importance for aquatic biodiversity values. 

  • The best example of dune hollow vegetation in the Otago Coast Ecological Region with many species in decline. Very diverse native wetland vegetation within the dune hollows. Some paddocks are of special interest in having Sphagnum sp., which is only known to exist on Otago Peninsula.  

  • Site contains the Pyramids, a significant geological feature.  

  • Four species of threatened bird species have been recorded including the Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes), which is acutely threatened-nationally vulnerable; Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor) and South Island Rifleman (Acanthisitta chloris chloris), both with a threat status of gradual decline; and South Island Fernbird (Bowdleria punctata punctata), which is classified as sparse.  

  • A number of moth species are present such as Diasemia grammalis, Pterophorus innotatalis, Arctesthes and Delogenes limodoxa. 

  • Three species of indigenous mammal have been recorded including the Aotearoa fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri); southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonine), which has a threat status of nationally critical; and Aotearoa sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri), which has a threat status of range restricted. 

  • Three species of indigenous lizard species and 2 exotic species of frog have been recorded: common gecko (Hoplodactylus maculatus); jewelled gecko (Naultinus gemmeus), which has a threat status of gradual decline; common skink (Oligosoma nigriplantare polychrome); green and golden bell frog; and whistling frog. 

ECL41 

Whawha-raupō / Swampy Summit Swamp  

  • The area is somewhat small in size (48.4 hectares) but is high elevation (720 metres) and is recorded to have outstanding site integrity (99% natural with 15% left). 

  • The site scored an outstanding weighted conservation rank of 1.0 within the FENZ/WONI analysis. 

  • Listed as an Area of Significant Conservation Value in the Dunedin City District Plan of national and regional significance. 

  • Presence of the carabid beetle (Oregus inaequalis), a Category B species of Aotearoa's threatened fauna.  

  • Contains a high diversity of habitat types, with peat bogs and associated plant communities that provide important habitat for threatened South Island Fernbird (Bowdleria punctata punctata) and other species. 

ECL42 

Aramoana Saltmarsh  

  • The area is considered to be of international and national significance. The marsh is considered to be biologically significant both as the most important habitat for wading birds, as well as the most extensive and least modified saltmarsh in Otago. 

  • The saltmarsh contains a high degree of naturalness (79%) and is considered largely intact. A complete vegetation sequence from the intertidal to dry land is a feature which most other saltmarshes in Otago no longer retain. Usually, the upper margins of salt marshes, or highest part of the sequence, are reclaimed or otherwise destroyed. 

  • The saltmarsh area above mean high water springs lies adjacent to the second largest representation of dune slacks area in Aotearoa.
     
  • The saltmarsh grades into an oioi (Leptocarpus similis) and saltmarsh ribbonwood (Plagianthus divaricatus) community. Beyond the salt influence, some of the wet dune hollows, known as ‘slacks’ contain swamp areas dominated by Aotearoa flax (Phormium tenax), native rush and sedge communities. 

  • Noted as breeding grounds for insects with eighty species of moth that have been recorded. 

  • Marine mammals such as sea lions have been seen pupping within the Aramoana saltmarsh. 

  • Identified as feeding grounds for many bird species including the Eastern Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica baueri), South Island Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus finschi), Pied Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Spur-winged Plover (Vanellus miles novae hollandiae), Banded Dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus), White-faced Heron (Ardea novae hollandiae), and various species of Ducks (Anatidae) and Gulls (Laridae). 

ECL43 

Akatore Estuary 

  • The Akatore Estuary is recognised within the Otago Coastal Plan as a nationally significant wildlife area for waterfowl, and waders such as pied stilts (Himantopus himantopus leucocephalus; Not Threatened).  

ECL44 

Makahoe/Papanui Inlet 

  • This estuary is the only estuary recognised to support breeding habitat for yellow-eyed penguins. 

  • This estuary is the most heavily used site within Otago by New Zealand sea lions. 

  • Makahoe/Papanui Inlet hosts extensive seagrass habitat which covers 111.1 hectares, 38.3% of the intertidal area. This habitat supports high biodiversity, ecological processes, and provides habitat for a range of estuarine species.  

  • Makahoe/Papanui Inlet is adjacent to two regionally significant wetlands, the Makahoe/Papanui Inlet Saltmarsh and the Okia Flat Wetland Management Area which add to the ecological integrity of the estuary complex. Due to the outstanding wetland values which support a range of high and very high bird and fish ecological values, Makahoe/Papanui Inlet is recognised as outstanding. 

ECL45  

Blueskin Bay Estuary 

  • Blueskin Bay is listed in the regional plan for Otago: Coast as a coastal protection area with Kāi Tahu cultural and spiritual values. Blueskin Bay is recognised to have potential national importance for aquatic biodiversity values. 

  • Provides an essential stopover supporting a significant proportion of the world’s population of black-billed gulls, this ecological sub-value is recognised as outstanding. 

  • Blueskin Bay supports numerous threatened and at risk native freshwater fish. 

  • Blueskin Bay is recognised as significant habitat for bivalves and supports a large biomass of tuaki/cockles. The estuary supports the largest known population of cockles within the Otago region and is recognised as outstanding for invertebrate ecological values. 

  • The estuary has the greatest macrofaunal richness of the monitored Otago estuaries and a high abundance of species with large numbers of invertebrates which are sensitive to habitat disturbance. This supports recognition of this estuary to hold outstanding invertebrate ecological values. 

Physical 

PHY21 

Ross Creek water supply dam, Ōtepoti 

  • Nationally Significant 

The first major water supply in Aotearoa.  

The earth dam was opened in 1867.  

  • Ross Creek, Ōtepoti. 

PHY22 

Akatore gorge and estuary 

  • Regionally Significant 

Outstanding example of a narrow, deeply incised gorge cut through uplifted coastal block opening out into fault-controlled estuary.  

  • At mouth of Akatore Creek and for 3 km upstream. 6 km south of Taiari River mouth. 

PHY23 

Tokomairaro salt meadow 

  • Nationally Significant 

Possibly the largest and best developed high-tidal salt meadow in Aotearoa, cut by deeply incised intertidal channels.  

Fills lower 1km section of small tributary on north side of Tokomairaro estuary mouth.  

  • At mouth of small tributary valley 2km upstream from mouth of Tokomairaro River estuary on north side. 

PHY24 

Blueskin Bay Quaternary tidal flats and coastal features 

  • Internationally Significant 

Best Holocene and good Late Pleistocene section in Otago. Also important as location of many carbon dated shells used to construct Aotearoa’s sea level curve.  

Tidal flats, low bluffs and cuttings around Blueskin Bay.  

  • State Highway 1, Evansdale, Warrington Spit, Blueskin Bay. 

PHY25 

Pūrākaunui Inlet 

  • Regionally Significant 

An easily accessible, almost pristine example of a small, drowned valley forming an intertidal estuary with a sand dune barrier across the entrance.  

A steep-sided inlet with salt meadows and salt marshes around the fringes. A wide barrier spit composed of numerous longitudinal dunes almost closes off the entrance to the estuary.  

  • Inlet about 4km east of Blueskin Bay and Waitati, 20km northeast of Ōtepoti. 

PHY26 

Makahoe/Papanui Inlet drowned valley 

  • Regionally Significant 

  • Excellent example of a drowned valley forming a tidal inlet. Of scenic value. 

  • Drowned valleys eroded in rocks of the Dunedin Volcanic Complex. Inlet is almost closed at the mouth by a sand spit formed by south to north longshore drift. 

  • South side of Otago Peninsula. 

PHY27

Hoopers Inlet drowned valley

  • Excellent example of a drowned valley forming a tidal inlet.  

  • Of scenic value. 

  • Drowned valleys eroded in rocks of the Dunedin Volcanic Complex. 

  • Inlet is almost closed at the mouth by a sandspit formed by south to north longshore drift. 

 

Recreation 

None identified. 

Natural character 

None identified. 

Natural features and landscapes 

LAN55 

Aramoana Saltmarsh 

  • Highly intact tidal to dry land vegetation sequence.  

  • Vegetation includes several saline and wetland species including oioi, saltmarsh ribbonwood, and harakeke.  

  • Highly memorable local feature within the Otago Harbour, and expressive of its formative processes.  

LAN56 

Makahoe / Papanui Inlet 

  • Intact tidal estuary with limited structures, and consents.  

  • Margins include a mixture of seagrass, saltmarsh, as well as areas of farmland (Otago Regional Council, 2020). 

  • Habitat for a range of shore and seabirds including the white-faced heron and eastern bar-tailed godwit.  

  • Highly expressive of its tidal influence and formative processes.  

  • Makahoe is the Māori name for the Papanui Inlet, and was an area where pātiki (flounders), makō (shark), tuere (blind eel/hagfish), kōkopu (native trout), tuaki (cockle), roroa (shellfish sp.), tio (oysters) and pāua were gathered.  

LAN57 

Hoopers Inlet 

  • Intact tidal estuary with limited structures, and consents.  

  • Margins include a mixture of saltmarsh, and salt meadows as well as areas cutty grass/rautahi (Carex coriacea), Carex virgata, Carex gaudichaudiana and knobby club rush (Otago Regional Council, 2020).  

  • Highly expressive of its tidal influence and formative processes. 

  • Public access to the inlet is available from Allans Beach Road and Hoopers Inlet Road. 

 

Economic profile and snapshot

While freshwater policies might be designed and applied specifically to the Dunedin & coast FMU, their impacts may be felt beyond the FMU boundary. Hence the rest of the Dunedin City area (including Mosgiel and surrounding area up to Middlemarch, which are part of the Taieri FMU but are all within one hour driving from Dunedin City centre) are combined with the Dunedin & Coast FMU when presenting socio-economic information. This combined area is referred to as Dunedin and surrounds.

In 2018, the area encompassing Dunedin and surrounds was home to around 130,000 residents (or nearly 60% of the population of Otago). In the 12 years between 2006 and 2018, there was a 7% (or 8,100 people) increase in population, which is lower than the Otago Region (+16%) and New Zealand (+17%). Most residents (nearly 80%) live in Dunedin City centre area, while the remainder is split fairly evenly between Mosgiel and surrounding area (10%), and smaller towns and rural areas (10%).

Nearly two in three Otago residents’ livelihoods are directly reliant on the water resources in this FMU, from domestic water consumption and discharge to commercial and industrial water use and discharge.

The economy in Dunedin and surrounds is more diverse than other parts of the Otago Region. Residents are likely to be working in Tourism Related industries, Health Care and Social Assistance, Education and Training, Construction, or Public Administration and Safety. Employment in the primary sector is relatively small, providing around 2% of jobs. The large residential population and approximate two million visitors annually (pre-COVID 19) has been putting increasing pressure on water use (water takes and discharges of pollutants or contaminants to water) and its infrastructure.

An understanding of Māori history and the Māori economy is essential for policy development and policy impact assessment. Not only does pre-European Māori history help shape modern day New Zealand, but the Māori economy is also integral to the New Zealand economic system. ORC is partnering with Aukaha and Te Ao Marama to develop an overview of Kāi Tahu history and economy. 

 

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