Our lovely Oparara river has turned milk coffee brown after rain. A series of slips in the headwater last year means that every time it rains now the river fills with mud and sand (photo 1).
Since the Westport floods in 2022, great amounts of granite sand have been coming down the river. And later in the year it was followed by another slip that is bringing finely suspended mud.
All of this has significantly buried the river bed and the rocks in it. The rocks hold all the Blue duck food and these are completely covered over in the upper reaches. The river ecosystem has changed dramatically in the upper reaches.
This is a natural event, no idea how long it will last but there has not been any sign of this slowing down for months now. However when it is not raining the mud sediments out and we are left with an unbelievable white snaking river that is now really shallow (photo 2). It's really quite beautiful, just different to what I'm used to seeing.