Neimann Creek is a spring-fed creek rising west of the intersection of Lansdowne Road and Lower Queen Street in the Tasman district. It feeds into the nationally-significant Waimeha/Waimea Inlet.
Regarded as a site of high ecological value, Neimann Creek should play an important role in nutrient cycling; filtering and breakdown of pollutants from terrestrial runoff. It should provide habitat, feeding and breeding areas for native birds, reptiles, invertebrates, and fish, including giant kōkopu, longfin eel and īnanga, as well as other non-threatened fish species.
Ensuring this creek supplies healthy freshwater to the Waimea/Waimeha Estuary and Tasman Bay is important for the community—for both kaimoana and recreation. Poor water quality affects many species that occupy the ecosystems from the spring source to the sea.
Historically, the creek has had significant water quality issues including excessive nutrient-rich benthic sediment accumulation (average depth over 500mm), high dissolved nitrate levels, and daily low dissolved oxygen saturation levels. Unmanaged mature crack willows and other weeds including arum lily, willowherb and submerged freshwater plants have choked the stream in places, slowing down the water flow.
Existing invasive terrestrial weeds and exotic species including banana passionfruit, old man’s beard, pampas, convolvulus and blackberry have also prevented the establishment of native trees and grasses.
Waterways like and including Neimann Creek have cultural significance as food gathering sites, and the loss of this is significant.
This project aims to address these issues through the staged implementation of a strategy informed by the Neimann Creek Restoration and Management Plan October 2015.
Stage one of this project has been completed and was funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund and supported by the Tasman District Council (TDC). This stage included Action Research regarding sediment removal, the removal of willow and other weeds (including aquatic), native planting and fencing along 800 metres of the creek.
Stage two of the project is funded by the Department of Conservation Community Fund and supported by TDC. This stage will extend the willow removal, manage any willow/weed regeneration across the entire creek, maintain native plantings and undertake some sediment removal in the western tributary. This riparian area will then be planted with appropriate native plants and fenced.
Planting has been undertaken by a combination of contractors, community groups including Keep Richmond Beautiful, and NMIT students.
This restoration project is critical to the health of both Neimann Creek and the Waimeha/Waimea Estuary and provides opportunities for education and informing other restoration projects on tributaries flowing into the Waimeha/Waimea and other estuaries. The return of threatened marine species and habitat for native bird species not only enhances the immediate environment but has positive flow-on effects for the wider environment and the community’s enjoyment of this area.