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Lyell Creek

Lyell Creek is situated in the Kaikoura zone between the Pacific Ocean and the Inland Kaikoura ranges. The catchment has a mild maritime climate and high sunshine hours with an average annual rainfall that ranges from 1,750mm in the headwaters to 844 mm near the coast. It is a lowland spring-fed river and has come under strong land-use pressure from a mixture of low and high producing grassland, with dairying and beef farming being the main activities.

Several sites on Lyell Creek and its tributaries that are included in the regional state of the environment (SoE) long term monitoring programme represent spring-fed rivers. Increasing pressure is being placed on Lyell Creek by intensifying land-use and increased demand for rights to take water for uses including irrigation and urbanisation.

The best water quality is in the upper reaches of the creek where there has been less change to the catchment and less human activity; consequently there is low level nutrient enrichment. The poorest water quality is found closer to the coast where the waterway is under pressure from land-use activities. Intensive agriculture in this area means higher nutrient concentrations, high bacteria concentrations and poor ratings for factors that support aquatic life, such as dissolved oxygen.

Sites 4

Monitored sites in the Lyell Creek catchment

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