Biodiversity funding in Selwyn Waihora put to good use

At its September meeting, the Selwyn Waihora zone committee heard that nearly every dollar of the $500,000 of funding it allocated to initiatives to protect and enhance the natural environment five years ago had been spent.

Committee Chairman Allen Lim said this Immediate Steps funding had been topped up by a further $250,000 contributed by farmers and others. “This substantial sum has been allocated to a wide range of worthy projects that are already starting to show substantial benefits in terms of water quality improvement and environmental enhancement,” Lim said.

Completed projects include work at Lake Pearson and Winding Creek with North Canterbury Fish & Game, wilding pine control at Cave Stream and restoration of Maffey’s Road Stream.

Lim said that the zone committee, with the help of the local Environment Canterbury zone team, was looking to continue the momentum with important biodiversity projects like these.

“Maintaining or improving biodiversity in and around the Zone is a priority for the Zone Committee,” he said.

“Another $500,000 is available for the next five years. This will be used for new biodiversity projects. We will also be continuing significant projects that have already been started, such as work in the Hororata River catchment contributed to by Te Ara Kakariki, landowners, community groups, councils and others.”

The zone committee has prepared the first phase of the Hororata River Restoration Plan, involving assessment of current status of the native vegetation. The next stage will look into animals and fish and where they live.

Priorities have already been identified, with an emphasis on protection of springheads, wetlands and remnant dryland communities under threat from changing land use.

Lim said that as well as continuing this and a number of other high-priority projects, there were also opportunities for new projects: "We welcome inquiries and applications for Immediate Steps funding for projects that will make a demonstrable difference to our unique environment in Selwyn Waihora.

“Priorities for the zone committee include native wetlands and springheads anywhere, as well as projects in the Hororata and Upper Waimakariri catchment."