Dairy farmers were blamed for high levels of E-Coli in the Kakanui river at Clifton Falls.
The culprits were not farmers, or their stock, but birds and some of those birds are protected:
A colony of nesting gulls responsible for polluting the Kakanui River and a popular North Otago swimming hole cannot be removed from the area because the colony contains protected bird life.
The Otago Regional Council located a previously unknown gull colony on steep rocky faces, 5km above Clifton Falls in February, after an investigation was launched to examine the cause of a series of high E. coli levels recorded in the river.
Council resource science manager Matt Hickey said an aerial inspection of the site had revealed that the colony contained at least one species of protected gull, and that meant the council could not act to remove the nesting birds.
”There are three species of gulls, and two of them are protected.
”Basically it’s just one of those things, native birds doing what they do, and we can’t really do much about it, other than a few signs warning people at that swimming hole during December-January that there are colonies upstream breeding.”
E. coli levels at Clifton Falls breached safety guideline four times last summer and peaked at 2400 parts per 100ml of water on January 3, well above the council’s limit of 300 parts per 100ml. . .
Just one of those things – nothing to be done about the river from which our drinking water comes and in which we swim.