February update: Kaikōura zone delivery lead

Kaikōura zone delivery lead Kevin Heays provides some information on the benefits of targeted weed control, with aerial spraying planned for the Kowhai River.

Regional weed control programme

Kicking off this month is the annual weed control programme, carried out by our rivers team. This work mainly targets willows, lupins, gorse, broom, and alders.

Riverbeds that need weed control for flood protection are surveyed to identify targeted vegetation, then helicopters carry out aerial spraying of said weeds. The Kowhai River will be the only Kaikōura river part of this year’s programme. The area will be signposted, and public access will be restricted while the work is in progress.

Fairway spraying clears weeds from the active part of the river channel that carries fast flowing water during floods, to reduce the chance of overflows and bank erosion.

We also need to control weeds to protect biodiversity. Unmanaged weed growth dramatically alters the character of rivers. Habitats are severely impacted which in turn affects the diversity and abundance of plants and animals in the river.

And climate change is expected to cause increased growth due to warmer conditions. The spread of invasive species due to climate change is considered one of the top two risks to the natural environment that needs to be addressed urgently.

Our rivers are important places of cultural and ecological significance ki uta ki tai/from the mountains to the sea. By controlling weeds in our rivers, we’re able to reduce flood risk to communities, enhance habitats for plants and animals, and help protect the natural character of these precious braided rivers.

Rural recycling and baleage use

Baleage in plastic wrap

Baleage in plastic wrap

Changing tune slightly, I do just want to remind farmers about the rules around baleage as we approach winter-feeding.

These include the design of feed storage facilities and areas, stopping leaching and keeping feed away from waterways.

We’ll be sharing more information on rural recycling closer to winter, but in the meantime, stay up-to-date with good management practice through our website, and remember that Anderson Hay & Baleage Kaikōura are the local contractors for the Plasback farm plastic recycling scheme in Kaikōura. You can call Matt Anderson on 027 253 9270 for more information or bag collection.

What Red means for our office

As you are all aware, the current Omicron outbreak has meant we are now in the Red setting. As a result of this, the Environment Canterbury Kaikōura office will not be open to the public from Monday 28 February. Rachel remains on the phones at (03) 319 5781, and can advise you how to get in touch with any of our field staff should you require it. 

All compliance monitoring and enforcement processes continue, and field staff are following recommended public health measures.

For more information

As always, if you’d like to give me a bell to talk about any of this or anything else going on in the area, you can call me on 027 646 2230.

Stay safe,