Focus on braided rivers
Braided rivers are iconic Canterbury features. They are also globally rare – a particular combination of climate and geology is needed to form the dynamic braided channels across a wide gravel riverbed.
The rivers and associated springs, wetlands and small streams form an important ecological link from the mountains to the sea.
You have told us you want Canterbury’s precious braided rivers protected. That’s why we’re giving them top priority.
We’re doing this in a number of ways. We’re working with communities to identify what they value in braided rivers and how we can manage them for multiple uses including recreation and farming, and as important habitats for fish and threatened bird species. We’re also working with other agencies that manage public land to align and improve our land management in braided river environments.
Water zone committees are also involved in braided river projects. For example, the Hurunui – Waiau Zone Committee is undertaking a flagship native biodiversity programme focusing on predator control and creating habitats for braided river birds.
Public transport update - Metro Timaru
We are excited to be working with global mobility expert Via to research the feasibility of a different way of delivering public transport research the feasibility of a different way of delivering public transport in Timaru.
Use of Timaru’s current system has been declining for several years now, and an on-demand, ride-sharing service where people are picked up from a nearby location could be a viable alternative to the current service.
During the research period, we will work with Timaru District Council, Via and people throughout the community, to design a suitable on-demand public transport service based on community needs and assess the feasibility of providing the service.
If an on-demand service is introduced in Timaru, it will be the first time that an urban area in New Zealand entirely uses this sort of service for public transport. For more info: metroinfo.co.nz/timaru.
Family project creates environmental haven
It’s been two years since Jodie and Matt Hoggard began their riparian planting project around Kaikōura’s Swan Creek.
What once appeared to be a dried-up stream through their property, bare on both sides, is now flourishing with native vegetation.
“It’s been Matt’s vision ever since we bought the block. He’s a good visionary. I couldn’t really see it to be honest,” Jodie said.
When they first bought the 4.2ha property almost five years ago it was basically a blank canvas and the ultimate family project.
“We wanted to give our kids space to grow up, grow some of our own food and have a good family project to get our teeth into. It was a really attractive block with a bit of challenge,” Jodie said.
The couple changed the fenceline, leaving space on either side of the stream and keeping stock out completely. They worked closely with Environment Canterbury biodiversity staff and a local nursery to plan how to best protect the stream using native plants.
The Kaikōura Water Zone Committee’s Immediate Steps Fund helped purchase 300 native plants to get them started on the riparian planting around the stream.
“Thankfully the Immediate Steps funding was there…having that assistance meant we could get in and get on with it quicker than if we had just ticked along doing it on our own,” Jodie said.
The result - a beautiful stream area where their children can explore and fish. Read more about the success story.
Does your local biodiversity project need support?
In Canterbury there are 10 community-led water zone committees who work collaboratively to identify freshwater priorities and challenges and make recommendations to councils to address these.
Each water zone committee has $100,000 a year to allocate to biodiversity projects in their zone to restore local ecosystems and improve water quality. Projects can include anything from fencing off wetlands, to planting native trees or clearing pest vegetation to protect native bat populations. Visit ecan.govt.nz/biodiversity for more information.
Take your own picnic and leave the stunning view
If you’re planning a trip to the lakes this summer, pack your own picnic to reduce food and drink rubbish at your favourite lakeside spot.
It may take a little more planning but going retro – using plates, a flask and reusable containers – cuts down on the rubbish that’s left when you pack up your picnic. The difference is surprising; a couple of apple cores versus a bag of rubbish.
Ideas for a low-waste picnic
- Use a picnic set rather than disposable plates and cutlery
- Fruit is a great low-waste option
- Use beeswax wraps or reusable containers for storing food
- Remember to pack a reusable drink bottle rather than buying bottled drinks
- Pack a face cloth for wiping hands and faces rather than paper serviettes or baby wipes
- Take a flask and re-usable coffee cups for hot drinks
- Make sure you either take home any waste or dispose of it in provided waste bins
- Remember to use the public toilet facilities provided!
The low-waste picnic theme is part of the Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee‘s summer-time Love Your Lakes campaign, which reminds lake users to respect the environment by disposing of rubbish responsibly, using provided toilet facilities and not discharging dirty water or sewage into waterways.
Environment Canterbury monitors regularly water quality at popular swimming spots around Canterbury. The results are available through Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA), New Zealand’s most comprehensive source of water data at lawa.org.nz/swim.
Where’s good to swim this summer?
If you’re heading away with the family this summer, or even if you’re staying at home, remember to visit www.LAWA.org.nz/swim for the most up-to-date information and advice on swimming conditions.
The LAWA website lists more than 100 swimming sites in Canterbury and for each has the weekly bacterial result, any cyanobacterial outbreaks, as well as the long-term water quality status.
LAWA is all about keeping you, your family and your pets safe, so we recommend:
Blue-green algae outbreaks are common at freshwater recreational sites over summer and can make humans and animals extremely sick. Dogs are particularly at risk if they swallow the algal mats.
For more information watch the ‘Cyanobacteria explained’ video or go to ecan.govt.nz/swimming.
We want everyone to stay safe on Canterbury’s many waterways. Make sure you’re wearing a properly fitted lifejacket, and your boat has an ID. Read more: ecan.govt.nz/navsafety.
Wilding pines – preventing the spread
The battle to prevent the spread of wilding pines in our region continues, with Environment Canterbury playing an instrumental role in controlling these invasive trees. Wilding pines, also known as wilding conifers, self-seed from established pine forests and represent one of the biggest pest management challenges we face in Canterbury, infesting around 25% of the region.
As part of a programme with other key agencies, more than two million hectares - that’s 43% of the region - has now been searched and treated. Environment Canterbury will continue to focus on working with landowners in priority areas and providing operational plans to the government for funding.
Did you know? Wilding pines decrease water levels in dry catchments; displace threatened habitats and species; reduce land productivity; obscure scenic views in iconic landscapes. Visit the National programme website: www.wildingconifers.org.nz
Meet the locals
What’s going on at The Willows?
Our rangers are busy working on developing The Willows area. Once complete, The Willows will have picnic areas overlooking the Waimakariri River, river and fishing access points, native plantings and educational spaces, walking tracks and a forest mountain bike trail – to name a few!
Alongside the work at The Willows, we are making Weedons Forest a destination for trail biking, including up to 30km of managed trails with varying levels of difficulty, a designated area for beginner riders, and improved car parking facilities.
The area is still open to the public at this stage, but please respect signage and worksites. The work is due for completion early 2019. Find out more about the progress at the Willows.