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Rakaia River

The Rakaia River is located in the Environment Canterbury Waihora / Ellesmere water management zone. The river is one of New Zealand’s largest braided rivers, and is highly valued for recreational (e.g. salmon fishing, jet boating and kayaking), aesthetic and ecological values. It rises in the Southern Alps, travelling 150 kilometres in a generally easterly and southeasterly direction before entering the Pacific Ocean 50 kilometres south of Christchurch. 

For much of its journey, the river is a braided, running through the wide shingle bed. Close to Mount Hutt the river is briefly confined to a narrow canyon known as the Rakaia Gorge. The river supports a large Wrybill population which represents 73% of the total population. Other important bird species known to be found in the Rakaia riverbed are Black Fronted Tern and Banded Dotterel. 
Two sites are monitored in the Rakaia River as part of the Environment Canterbury's state of environment monitoring programme. These sites represent upper and lower reaches of alpine-fed rivers.

The upper reach has good water quality with low level dissolved nutrient concentrations, low levels of bacteria and good aquatic life supporting parameters (temperature and dissolved oxygen). The lower reach is also of good water quality, but with slightly higher dissolved nutrient concentrations and bacteria (although still at low levels). This is most likely a result of cumulative land use effects with significant dilution from the alpine-fed river water.

Sites 3

Monitored sites in the Rakaia River catchment

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