Since its inception, this pilot project has brought together many different groups and individuals, particularly the close working relationship with DOC and funding from funding from Fonterra’s sustainable catchments programme.
With the project on private land, it was essential to have the support and backing of landowners – one of whom is John Grigg, who commented:
“It’s such an amazing environment, and we wanted to do something useful to leave the land in a better state and protect this unique species.”
Minister Sage said:
“The management of Canterbury mudfish and their habitat is complex, and requires close collaboration between Environment Canterbury and DOC. As their habitat is predominantly on private land, it is also highly dependent on the commitment of those landowners.”
Trish Kirkland-Smith, Fonterra’s General Manager - Group Environment, said:
“This project is a fantastic example of thinking and acting at a catchment scale, with one intervention on a specific farm supporting a broader catchment and community goal. Fonterra is delighted to have helped make it happen, as we continue our work with communities in catchments up and down the country to help rebuild the health of New Zealand’s waterways.”
Environment Canterbury’s Selwyn Waihora Zone Delivery Lead Johannes Welsch, who has been instrumental in ensuring the success of the project at every stage, commented:
“Working collaboratively in this way is a perfect example of how, by joining forces, we can make biodiversity and species protection not just a priority, but a practical reality.”
Innovation in conservation
The project is a Southern Hemisphere first, using electromagnetic barrier technology designed by US company Smith-Root.
“Throughout the design, equipment supply, and commissioning stages of the project, we collaborated with and relied upon the expertise of PDP and Frizzells,” the company said.
"The information provided by these experts, and the reliable communication and leadership by Johannes, made our job much easier, especially being 19 time zones away.”
Installation of the barrier will allow the mudfish to expand into the lower reaches of the site and stop predation by trout – increasing spring-fed stream habitat for the mudfish from 880m² to 8,000m² in the Selwyn Waihora catchment.
It also allows for the study of predator exclusion and population monitoring, harnessing this innovative technology to find new solutions.