Marrs and Shingle Beach Working Group
Long term monitoring by the West Coast Regional Council has highlighted intermittent elevated E. coli levels at both Marrs Beach and Shingle Beach in Westport. E. coli bacteria come from the gut of warm blooded animals and its presence can indicate potential risk from other pathogens such as Campylobacter. The Council, along with local Runanga representatives, requested a community group be established to investigate the issue. The Marrs and Shingle Beach Working Group (the Group) was tasked with investigating the issue of faecal contamination at these beaches, evaluating community values, and providing recommendations to Council on how water quality might be improved at these sites.
The Marrs and Shingle Beach Community Working Group was established in 2017 and has members representing a range of sectors and interests.
The Community Group met monthly from May 2018 until June 2019.
Marrs and Shingle Beach Working Group Members
- Neal Clementson - West Coast Regional Council representative
- Chris Coll
- Richard Nichol
- Alice Gilsenan
- Joan Hamilton
- Robert Higgens
- Jamie Cleine - Buller District Council representative
- Lisa Steenhauer
The complex nature of the issue…
Before the first meeting, group members took part in two workshops. During these workshops the group explored the issue of E. coli contamination at Marrs Beach and Shingle Beach – here's a picture showing just how complex this issue is!
Marrs Beach and Shingle Beach working group report: Stage 1
Based on the sampling undertaken by the Group to date, we are confident that ruminant faecal contamination from Bradshaws Creek is the most significant driver of elevated E. coli and pathogen risk at Marrs Beach.
Marrs Beach and Shingle Beach E.coli results have improved in recent years, however they remain above the target established by the Group. Further work with catchment land users is required to meet the water quality target.
Shingle Beach requires further investigation before appropriate management options can be established for that area.
- The working group has completed the sampling programme that was set up in 2018. A number of new water quality monitoring sites had been established around the catchment to gain more information on potential sources of contamination.
- Faecal source tracking (FST) analysis was carried out on a number of samples from Bradshaws Creek and Marrs Beach. This type of testing provides information on the source of E. coli contamination. All results indicated that ruminant was most likely to be the dominant source. Cows, deer, and sheep are all types of ruminant animals.
- Two days were spent evaluating flow patterns around Bradshaws Lagoon using dye tracing and visual inspection. Connectivity was observed between water from the Bradshaws catchment and Marrs Beach.
- A combination of higher flows and higher E. coli concentrations indicated that Bradshaws Creek (above Martins Rd Bridge), was the main tributary supplying faecal contamination to Bradshaws Lagoon.
- Based on the sampling undertaken by the Group to date, we are confident that ruminant faecal contamination from Bradshaws Creek is the most significant driver of elevated E. coli and pathogen risk at Marrs Beach. Shingle Beach requires further investigation before appropriate management options can be established for that area.
- The group has provided an initial update report to the Council Resource Management Group Committee in July 2019.
- AgResearch has been commissioned to provide recommendations on how faecal contamination can be reduced.
- Further monitoring is planned for summer.
How can I contribute?
We would love to hear your feedback, or if you want to know more about the community group, have any questions or comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or Neal Clementson at email@example.com.