Birchville Dam was once a functioning water-supply for the local community until it was retired in the 1950’s. People remember the water at the Birchville Dam being much higher, which it was. The water level at this historic dam is actively managed to protect local communities and residents.
We do regular safety inspections on all the historic dams in our region and these inspections are done to keep everyone safe.
Is the dam safe?
Yes under normal conditions, and it is expected to perform well in moderate earthquakes and floods. The dam is under an ongoing safety and surveillance programme. The water level is actively managed to protect local communities and residents, and retain its historical value. Strong earthquakes and flooding can pose risks to this dam which is why water levels are continuously monitored. There are procedures in place to manage safety risks and to close this area if the risk levels warrant it. This is a similar process to all dams across our regional parks.
What do I do if there is a major earthquake and I am at the dam?
In the case of a major earthquake you should head to higher ground. Remember if it is long, or strong, get gone
If you’re at or above the dam, stay on the track above the dam until it is safe to move. The track above the Dam heads up the hill towards Totara Park ( 3 1/2 hrs) and onto Bridge Rd carpark via Cannon Point Walkway (4 1/2 hr walk) - this is your safest route out.
If you are on the track below to the dam - move immediately to high ground. Be aware of potential for damage to bridges, landslips and rock falls. Exit immediately via the carpark on Bridge Road - the carpark is considered safe because it is above any potential deluge zone. Do not return to the dam until the area has been inspected and cleared by GWRC.
Should I visit the area during extreme rainfall and if local rivers are flooded?
No. Avoid visiting this area during these conditions. The track to the dam is vulnerable to flooding. Following these type of weather events you may find tracks will be closed until areas have been checked and cleared as safe by GWRC. Follow the advice on any signage posted in this area.
We want everyone to be safe so if anything changes around the dam we will inform the public on this website page, on site or on facebook. Please follow all safety instructions posted by GWRC or as advised by our staff or park rangers.
A Key Native Ecosystem plan sets out the management activities that will be carried out to address threats to biodiversity at sites managed by GWRC as part of the Key Native Ecosystem (KNE) Programme. The KNE Programme includes sites that represent a full range of native ecosystem types with significant biodiversity values across the region. Management activities at these sites aim to protect and restore these important remnants of our natural heritage.
Akatarawa Forest includes some large areas of high biodiversity value and these areas comprise one of GWRC’s Key Native Ecosystem sites. The Key Native Ecosystem Plan for Akatarawa Forest describes the values and threats for this site, as well as the management activities GWRC is planning to carry out.
The KNE site at Akatarawa Forest includes all of the native forested areas within the Park which is located in hill country at the southern end of the Tararua Ranges north of Upper Hutt. The KNE site’s large size, diversity of forest types and wetlands are some of the features that make this site so special. It also supports a range of threatened species including Kirk’s daisy, large-leaved milk tree, red and scarlet mistletoes, New Zealand falcon, red-crowned kākāriki, torrentfish and the rarely observed lamprey.
With weeds, pest animals and the adverse effects of human activities posing ongoing threats to the area, GWRC is undertaking a long-term commitment to ensure that this Key Native Ecosystem’s values are protected and restored.
You can download the Key Native Ecosystem Plan for Akatarawa Forest and find further information about the KNE programme on our website.