$130,000 recommended for crucial biodiversity projects

A swag of important local biodiversity projects saw the Hurunui Waiau Water Zone Committee recommend Environment Canterbury allocate nearly $130,000 to seven projects in the zone.

So much Immediate Steps funding was recommended to Environment Canterbury, that the zone's $100,000 cap for biodiversity projects was over-allocated by more than $25,000, which was allowed due to Environment Canterbury's funding surplus in past years.

Three flagship projects

The committee recommended three ideas become ‘flagship’ projects in 2017 – all are five-year projects relating to the Hurunui and Waiau braided rivers.

These three projects totalled nearly 75 per cent of the amount recommended (about $92,000) and involved clearance of weeds on braided river islands; the surveying and monitoring of native bird populations; and control of the black-backed gull.

One of the most abundant and invasive gulls in the country, the black-backed gull predates endangered bird species and caused E. coli problems for both the Hurunui and Waiau rivers, meaning the water quality in both was adversely affected.

The first flagship project was recommended for $21,040, which went to controlling the population nesting on the rivers in order to improve water quality and prevent the gulls from preying on native braided river species.

The largest recommendation of the year – $62,850 – went to the second flagship project on weed clearance. This project allowed native birds in the area to nest in areas safe for the chicks.

With the unpredictable nature of braided rivers and ever-changing flow paths, it is important that native species have safe places to nest with a reduced risk of flooding.

The third flagship project was an $8,450 recommendation to continue monitoring of native bird populations on the braided rivers, to inform future decisions such as protection and control.

The bottom line

Zone committee acting chair Ken Hughey said of the projects:

“We have made good progress on our flagship projects to provide funding for clearance and building of nesting sites for threatened bird species on our rivers”.

“(We have had) major investment in threatened and endangered species bird management in braided rivers – 2000 black-backed gulls were culled, predator control work was advanced and weed-free islands destroyed by floods were re-established,” he said.

The full list of successful 2018-19 Immediate Steps funding applications are below. For more information or if you have a project you’d like funding for, click here.

Hurunui Waiau Water Zone Committee 2018-19 Immediate Steps funding projects (totalling $129,250):

  • Hurunui and Waiau braided rivers – Flagship project 1: Black-Backed Gull control – $21,040
  • Hurunui and Waiau braided rivers – Flagship project 2: Island weed clearance for braided river birds – $62,850
  • Hurunui and Waiau braided rivers – Flagship project 3: Bird surveys and monitoring of populations – $8,450
  • Mark Fitzsimmons bush fencing – $12,035
  • Te Mania Fence Replacement – QEII covenant – $8,270
  • Treasure Downs Wetland – $2,740
  • Beltana Bush Fencing – QEII covenant – $13,865