Grab some gravel

  • Published Date 06 Mar 2015

Take some hard fill for your home and garden projects this weekend - and help protect your community from flooding.  The annual Greater Wellington Regional Council Ōtaki Gravel Grab takes place Saturday 14 March 10am-2pm. 

River stone naturally makes its way from the ranges onto the lower reaches of the river causing river bed levels to gradually rise.  The greater the volume of gravel build-up on the river bed the more easily it tops its banks in high flows and the greater the risk of flooding to the Ōtaki township. Gravel management is an important element of flood protection as outlined in the Ōtaki Floodplain Management Plan.

"People love 'free-stuff'! Last year we saw two hundred trailer loads of gravel moved off the beach," said Grant Timlin, GWRC Flood Protection River Ranger.  "That equates to around 50 cubic meters of gravel removed from the river system and reduces flooding and erosion problems downstream."

Traffic is carefully managed at the event and the Flood Protection Gravel Grab team are mindful of public safety.

"We've been doing this for a few years now and have a good system.  We manage the flow of traffic with signs and marshals," says Timlin.  "We prepare the ground in advance so that cars can access the area relatively easily.  There's space for a lot of cars to park and wait in-line to have the digger load their trailer.  Some get there early enough to come back for more!"

"Some people like to hand-pick stones for special projects and we direct them to a separate zone."

The Ōtaki Gravel Grab is a great opportunity for Grant to meet people and catch up on what's happening in their part of the river. 

"We work to keep the riverbed at a level that provides flood protection to the community year round, so I spend a lot of time out along the river and meet people in my day-to-day work," says Timlin. "I'm looking forward to seeing a few old friends and making some new ones too!"

From SH1 turn left off the highway immediately north of Ōtaki Bridge. Follow the Gravel Grab signs, please stop when the marshals ask you and wait for instructions. Bring your trailer and shovel.


Contact: Media phone: 021 914 266


Updated April 29, 2022 at 11:22 AM

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