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Ashley River/Rakahuri Catchment

The Ashley River a medium-sized hill-fed river in the north of the Canterbury Plains. The river originates from the mountain range in the west Lees Valley and exits the foothills through a canyon called the Ashley gorge near Oxford township. The river flows generally southeastwards for 65 kilometres before entering the Pacific Ocean at Waikuku Beach, north of Christchurch. The lower reaches of the river is braided, the town of Rangiora is close to the south bank of the Ashley River.

Where the Ashley meets the sea is on of the largest is one of the least modified estuaries in New Zealand. The estuary is abundant in bird life, including the wrybill (Anarhynchus frontalis) and Black stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae). Many migratory birds over-winter in the estuary. The river generally has good water quality with low level dissolved nutrient levels and bacteria levels although extended periods of low flows (including naturally dry reaches) in the late summer frequently lead to nuisance growths of algae.

There are currently three State of the Environment Water Quality monitoring sites on the Ashley River, and two State of the Enviroment Ecosysytem Health monitoring sites. Aquatic Ecosystem Health is also routinely monitored on one other stream site in approximately the middle of the catchment.

Sites 4

Monitored sites in the Ashley River/Rakahuri Catchment catchment

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