Media release

ORC’s investigation into Silverstream fish deaths continuing

Tuesday 16 February 2021

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is continuing to investigate the cause of a fish kill event in the Silverstream that occurred in the wake of January floods, and how ORC’s flood drainage infrastructure can minimise environmental impacts for fish in future.

ORC Manager Engineering Michelle Mifflin said the water samples taken from the stream by ORC staff at the time the complaint was received did not point to a cause of the fish deaths.

“While there was no obvious pollution detected in the water samples, the environmental factors of recent flooding, followed by warm summer temperatures, are thought to have played a part in the fish deaths.

“ORC is investigating, with input from an independent expert, how our flood protection and drainage scheme can best operate to avoid exacerbating environmental risks for fish and eels.

“We are keen to continue working with Fish and Game to better understand the reasons for the fish kill and explore any options that may be available to mitigate this risk in the future. While the continued effective operation of our flood schemes is critical to the communities that they protect, we want to ensure that we are also being good environmental stewards by fully understanding all of their potential impacts,” Ms Mifflin said.