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Managing our Environment

Akatore Creek Swamp

Description:

Extensive area of saltmarsh and swamp above coastal marine area south of Akatore Creek. 1

Type/Class:

Swamp/saltmarsh, bog. 2, 103

Size:

54.9 ha.

Altitude:

0-10 m above sea level.

Approximate location:

Intersection of Akatore Road and Akatore Creek Road, Taieri Beach.
NZTM (centre point): E1381790 N4891290.

Regional Plan:

Water for Otago
Schedule 9 Regionally Significant Wetland, no. 1, Map F42.

Territorial Authority:

Clutha District Council.

Akatore Creek Swamp

Recorded Values:

Value

Description

A1

Habitat for nationally or internationally rare or threatened species or communities. Abundant Fernbird (At risk – Declining) and Mimulus repens (At Risk – Naturally Uncommon) are present. 103

A3

High diversity of wetland habitat types. At least four wetland vegetation/habitat types dominated by indigenous species occur within the wetland: oioi rushland, rautahi sedgeland, Juncus spp./spaghnum bog, and remuremu-glasswort saltmarsh. 103

A4

High degree of wetland naturalness. 1, 2

A5

Scarce in Otago in terms of its ecological or physical character. A complete sequence of indigenous vegetation from the high-tide mark through saltmarsh and flax to tall Leptospermum sp., Carmichaelia sp. and Olearia sp. scrub. This scrub is considered an intrinsic part of the wetland and is the only example of its type in the Otago Coast Ecological Region. 1, 103

Less than 15% of swamps remain in Otago. 2

The Landcover Database v2 (LCDB2) indicates that all potential wetland classes (Herbaceous Freshwater Vegetation, Flaxland, Herbaceous Saline Vegetation, Lake and Pond, River, and River and Lakeshore Gravel and Rock) cover less than 2.59% of all land in Tokomairiro Ecological District. 103

Bogs at or near sea level are regionally uncommon. 103

A6

Highly valued by Kai Tahu for cultural and spiritual beliefs, values and uses, including mahika kai and waahi taoka. 1

A7

High diversity of indigenous wetland flora and fauna. All the usual plant species that are likely to occur in saltmarsh environments are present. 103

A9

Significant hydrological function, including maintaining water quality, or low flows, or reducing flood flows. Wetland is likely to moderate flows in the lower reaches of Akatore Creek during flood events. High tides flow into the wetland. The wetland is likely to help protect water quality within Akatore Creek. 103

A2, A8

No relevant information is currently held by the ORC.

 

Other Information:

  • Part of Akatore Creek Swamp is in the coastal marine area, which is covered by the Regional Plan: Coast for Otago.

  • The wetland is located on Acutely Threatened Land Environments, where <10% land cover remains in indigenous vegetation. 103

  • Several protected areas are located within or near Akatore Creek Swamp. These protected areas include:

    1. Conservation Area – Akatore Wildlife Management Area (45.83 ha) which is located on the southern side of Akatore Creek Road;
    2. Akatore Creek Marginal strip (0.5 ha) which is located to the south of the Wildlife Management Area;
    3. Akatore Stream Marginal strip (10.94 ha); and
    4. QEII OSP covenant 5/12/131, which contains riparian indigenous forest on the northern margins of Akatore Creek. 103

  • Oioi Rushland near Stoneygrove Creek, a tributary of Akatore Creek, is characterised by saltmarsh wetland vegetation. Saltmarsh ribbonwood (Plagianthus divaricata) and scattered flax (Phormium tenax), mingimingi (Coprosma propinqua), and manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) are emergent over dense oioi (jointed wire rush; Apodasmia similis), with creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) at ground level. Other species present in this area include orache (Atriplex prostrata), Rumex crispus, Epilobium pallidiflorum, and in a muddy area, Mimulus repens, which is classified as At Risk-Naturally Uncommon in de Lange et al. (2009). Along the main creek channel saltmarsh ribbonwood becomes dominant. Adjacent to gorse (Ulex europaeus) shrubland a few low shrubs of Coprosma elatirioides are present and there is a strip where rautahi (Carex geminata). 103

  • Gorse shrubland near Stoneygrove Creek contains open wetland areas with rautahi, sweet vernal (Anthoxanthum odoratum), Edgar’s rush (Juncus edgariae), and scattered flax, mingimingi, and manuka. However, under areas of dense gorse there is little other vegetation. Few radiata pine (Pinus radiata) also present in this wetland area. 103

  • A modified bog wetland is present in the southwestern part of the wetland adjacent to Stoneygrove Creek. In this wetland, abundant Edgar’s rush (Juncus edgariae) and soft rush (J. effusus) occur over sphagnum moss (Sphagnum cristatum), Blechnum penna-marina, Gonocarpus micranthus, Celmisia gracilenta, Centella uniflora, sharp spike sedge (Eleocharis acuta), rautahi, catsear (Hypochaeris radicata), and Nertera scapanioides. There are also a few scattered flax, small silver birch (Betula pendula), and Baumea tenax. Pasture grasses become more abundant towards the west. 103

  • A saltmarsh wetland dominated by herbfield is located next to Akatore Creek Road. Abundant remuremu (Selliera radicans) and glasswort (Sarcocornia quinqueflora) occur with patchy saltgrass (Puccinellia spp.), and creeping bent on drain margins and on higher points within the saltmarsh. Also present at lower abundance are Samolus repens, sharp spike sedge, Leptinella dioica, and New Zealand celery (Apium prostratum), Suaeda novae-zelandiae, and saltmarsh ribbonwood on drain margins. Batchelors button (Cotula coronopifolia) has been recorded in ditches alongside this saltmarsh vegetation. 103

  • On the edge of Akatore Creek, between Akatore Creek Road and Akatore Road, is a strip of bracken (Pteridium esculentum), gorse, broom, and a few kohuhu (Pittosporum tenuifolium) and kanuka (Kunzea ericoides), which does not constitute wetland vegetation. This area is backed by Eucalyptus sp., macrocarpa (Cupressus macrocarpa), and radiata pine. 103

  • The southern part of Stoneygrove Creek flows through an area of mudflat located below mean high water springs, which has little vegetation but provides habitat for indigenous fauna. Open water habitats are also present in this area. 103

  • The Akatore Creek catchment has been identified as nationally important for biodiversity. 10

  • Endemic non-migratory flathead galaxiids (Galaxias spp.) are present in Akatore Creek. These species have been ranked by the Department of Conservation as a species in gradual decline. 11

  • Other fish species recorded in the wetland include inanga (Galaxias maculates), which is classified as At Risk – Declining, and common bully (Gobiomorphus coditianus). 103

  • Spur-winged Plover (Vanellus miles), Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella), Redpoll (Carduelis flammea), Australasian Harrier (Circus approximans), Pied Stilt (Himantopus himantopus leucocephalus), Variable Oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor), and South Island Fernbird have been recorded within the wetland. 103 Fernbird and Pied Stilt are classified as At Risk-Declining, and Variable Oystercatcher as At Risk-Recovering. Fernbird are abundant in oioi rushland and common in rautahi sedgeland, while Oystercatchers and Stilts are likely to utilize river and other open habitats. 103

  • Pukeko (Porphyrio melanotus) have also been recorded by local landowners. 103

 

Aerial View of Akatore Creek Swamp (March 2006)

Aerial View of Akatore Creek Swamp (March 2006)

Swamp at Stoneygrove, northern park of Akatore Creek Swamp, looking northeast  (September 2010)

Swamp at Stoneygrove, northern park of Akatore Creek Swamp, looking northeast (September 2010)

References: 

1 Otago Regional Council (2004) Regional Plan: Water for Otago. Published by the Otago Regional Council, Dunedin.

2 Ausseil, A.G., Newsome, P., Johnson, P. (2008) Wetland Mapping in the Otago Region. Landcare Research Contract Report prepared for the Otago Regional Council.

10 Ministry for the Environment (2004) Water Programme of Action: Potential Water Bodies of National Importance. Technical working Paper. Published by the Ministry for the Environment, Wellington.

11 Department of Conservation (2004) New Zealand non-migratory galaxiid fishes recovery plan 2003-2013. Threatened Species Recovery Plan 53. Published by the Department of Conservation, Wellington.

103 Wildland Consultants (2012) Ecological evaluation of Akatore Creek Swamp. Report prepared for Otago Regional Council.

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