Operation Tidy Fox making good progress under DOC management

  • Hon Eugenie Sage
Conservation Environment

Significant progress is being made on cleaning up rubbish eroded from the Fox River landfill since the Department of Conservation (DOC) took over management of the clean-up on 19 June says Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage

Eugenie Sage met with DOC staff leading the clean-up and volunteers in Fox Glacier yesterday.

“It was great to be able to thank the committed Departmental staff and a big team of volunteers in person. The volunteers were in great spirits after a working in the riverbed on a magnificent West Coast day extracting rubbish from logjams of trees swept down by the flood.

“I was impressed DOC’s clear plan for Operation Tidy Fox. DOC has mapped the riverbed and coast in detail, especially the 6-7kms of riverbed which has the worst log jams trapping rubbish. The area has been divided into cells and DOC is organising equipment and volunteers to methodically work on these areas,” says Eugenie Sage.

“The Department of Conservation (DOC) took over the management of the Fox River landfill clean up on 19 June. Already DOC’s Operation Tidy Fox has cleared of rubbish 25 ha of riverbed between the Fox River Bridge and the confluence with the Cook River. That’s about the same area as 36 rugby fields; in the worst affected and hardest to deal with area.

“Volunteers are working in a stunning landscape in the heart of Tai Poutini/Westland National Park and Te Wāhipounamu, the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.  Their time, energy and commitment is making a real difference and is now backed by the solid organisational support and incident management which DOC is providing.

 “It is estimated 5500 tonnes of rubbish were eroded out of the Fox Glacier landfill by the March flood. The worst affected area is around 6 km downstream of the State Highway bridge over the Fox River where many of the log jams are. The area still to be cleared of rubbish includes riverbanks, river braids and islands.

“Since DOC took over, the team of daily volunteers has grown from fewer than 10 volunteers to around 50 people. Together these incredible people have picked up 55 fadges (big wool sack style bags) of rubbish. Each fadge weighs half a tonne/500 kgs.   

“I look forward to the extra support and personnel the New Zealand Defence Force, working with DOC, is planning to provide in the coming weeks”

Volunteers can help restore the Fox River by signing up at: https://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/volunteer/in-your-region/west-coast/operation-tidy-fox/ Volunteers have their accommodation and meals provided and work in teams led by DOC staff.