Leigh Bull

Leigh Bull

Abstract | Kaikoura earthquake: Managing ecology during a major road and rail rebuild

The Kaikoura coastline, situated on the eastern side of New Zealand’s South Island, is well known for its natural environment, particularly the mountain-to-sea sequence comprising bush-clade mountains, seal colonies, whale watching and commercial fisheries. On 14 November 2016, an earthquake comprising a complex sequence of ruptures with a combined magnitude of 7.8 occurred approximately 60 km south-west of Kaikoura. Many major roads, including the coastal section of State Highway 1, and the Main North Line railway were closed because of resulting slips and damage to bridges.

The impacts on the environment resulting from the earthquake were numerous. For example, extensive tectonic uplift (2-3m) resulted in significant alteration to intertidal and subtidal habitats. One of the major slips occurred at the Ohau Point, the location of the main breeding location of the NZ fur seals in the South Island. The rare Ohau rock daisy, found only on the Ohau Point bluffs was severely impacted, with 95% of the population lost.

Dr Bull will present on the environmental and ecological challenges associated with reinstating the coastal sections of the main highway and rail network.

Bio | Leigh Bull

Dr Leigh Bull is an Associate Partner with Boffa Miskell Limited, a New Zealand environmental consultancy. Her current role as the Project Ecologist for the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery draws on her previous experiences working on a number of major infrastructure projects, including roads of national significance (RoNS), large wind farms, dredging and reclamations. Leigh is a Certified Environmental Practitioner (Ecology Specialist) with the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand, an Independent Hearings Commissioner and Editor of the scientific journal Notornis.