Cashmere Stream receives funding for water quality and biodiversity improvement

Government funding has been granted to help the community improve the health of Cashmere Stream, which has water clarity issues due to supended sediment.

Cashmere Stream runs along the northern base of the Port Hills and into the Ōpāwaho/Heathcote River. Its water clarity has been degrading over time due to heavy rain events eroding and mobilising the exposed light clay soils of the surrounding Port Hills.

Sediment is one of the biggest polluters of our urban waterways. It smothers habitat on the bottom of streams and rivers, where insects and fish usually live, and makes it hard for fish to see their food.

The enhancement of Cashmere Stream will happen alongside the development of a new 100-hectare flood storage and stormwater treatment facility being constructed by the Christchurch City Council between Cashmere Road and Sutherlands Road. This facility will help reduce the risk of flooding in the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River catchment and capture and reduce sediment running into the stream. 

Enhancement for biodiversity

Cashmere Stream is home to native fish species including tuna/shortfin and longfin eels, wai kōura / freshwater crayfish, īnanga/whitebait species, and bullies/tīpokopoko so it’s crucial we protect and enhance the native habitat, providing spaces and places for these species, as well as native birds and animals, to live.

Earlier this year, Cashmere Stream received nearly $1.5m from the Ministry for the Environment Freshwater Improvement Fund to protect and enhance native biodiversity in the catchment. Christchurch City Council (the Council) has also committed nearly $1.7m to support this mahi.

The Council is actively engaging with several landowners, community groups and organisations and says collaboration is key for the Cashmere Stream Enhancement Project.

The project aims to increase the clarity and quality of the freshwater stream, and support other biodiversity, stormwater, flood management and wetland creation projects in the catchment.

Bubbling water from a natural spring in Cashmere Stream

Bubbling water from a natural spring in Cashmere Stream

Key outcomes

By 2024 the work undertaken as part of the project will help improve stream health and enhance the habitat of Cashmere Stream.

Key outcomes of the project include:

  • creating large settling ponds where the larger sediment particles will deposit before entering Cashmere Stream
  • planting over 60,000 native plants on the riparian margins to create shade and reduce weed growth and run-off from surrounding land
  • creating a path beside the stream and building footbridges for walking, cycling and provide places to help the community engage with the water
  • working closely with the community
  • community planting days
  • working with rūnanga to establish mātauranga Māori monitoring.

Resource and environmental management advisory entity Mahaanui Kurataiao Limited is leading the mātauranga Māori monitoring project to support mana whenua values and opportunities for harvesting mahinga kai.

Head of Three Waters & Waste Helen Beaumont said the project will provide significant environmental benefits and be a great space for the community to enjoy.

“The plan is to create a legacy we can all be proud of, and one future generations can build on, enjoy, and value.

“Cashmere Stream is an integral part of our community’s sense of identity and wellbeing,” Beaumont said.

Bunz Drain Confluence, a tributary of Cashmere Stream

Bunz Drain Confluence, a tributary of Cashmere Stream

Community group efforts praised

In support of Christchurch City Council’s Cashmere Stream Enhancement Project, Cashmere Stream Care Group (CSCG) recently held a community event, with 800 plants making it into the ground in less than two hours along Bunz Drain, a tributary of Cashmere Stream.

Chair of Christchurch West Melton Water Zone committee, Kevin Brown said the group is very active in the protection and restoration of Cashmere Stream and its tributaries.

“The passion and efficiency of Cashmere Stream Care Group and its community are exemplary to other community groups.

“CSCG has planted more than 1,500 flaxes, sedges, and trees over the last few years, which is extraordinary for a group that is entirely volunteer based.

“Supporting groups like CSCG is imperative to getting good outcomes for biodiversity and water quality values,” he said.

The Bunz Drain plants are located near a new subdivision, so the planting day provided an opportunity for new locals to get involved, see the work CSCG do and watch as habitat in the area grows over time.

If you’d like to get involved in future planting days, follow Cashmere Stream Care Group, Environment Canterbury, and Christchurch City Council on Facebook to find out when the next one is happening in your area.

Be a stormwater superhero

We can all be a Stormwater Superhero and take some small actions to help keep stormwater clean and improve the quality of water in our rivers and streams.

If you see any sediment leaving building sites and going onto footpaths or roads phone Environment Canterbury on 0800 765 588 (24/7) or report using the Snap, Send, Solve app.

Find out more