Project aims to enhance Mt Harding stream

Plans to plant natives along parts of Mt Harding stream are underway with local landowners getting onboard.

Mt Harding stream is a small waterway running from below Pudding Hill past Methven and joining the north branch of the Hakatere/Ashburton River.

Funding to improve ecological health of the stream

Last century the stream was modified by being connected to several other waterways to provide a water supply network for stock, but it still provides a natural corridor sloping down from the hills to the plains. In some stretches the stream is shaded and cool, while in others it crosses hot and dry paddocks. 

Late last year, after a recommendation from the Ashburton Water Zone Committee, Environment Canterbury agreed to provide $50,000 of Immediate Steps funding to continue improving the ecological health of Mt Harding stream over two years. 

Fonterra will contribute an additional $25,000 through the Fonterra Sustainable Catchments funding scheme, and it's expected that local landowners will provide $25,000 more.

Staff have walked the length of the stream to identify areas where environmental improvements can be made. Along the way they have engaged with neighbouring landowners, and are developing a plan of prioritised work.

Riparian planting to promote biodiversity

Funding will include money for riparian planting, which can protect fish life and enhance the natural qualities of waterways.

Native plantings provide shade and help cool water – good for biodiversity. They also reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients entering waterways. Maintaining good water flows and controlling weeds is also vital for waterway health.

Members of the Methven Lions Club have undertaken riparian planting along the Thyme Stream section of Mt Harding stream over the past year, with assistance from Environment Canterbury.

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