More movement on Mill Road, as project progresses

Biodiversity projects which are part of the Mill Road catchment project on the Kaikōura Flats are progressing well, with four landowners now moving towards planting and restoring their sites.

The catchment project was established after opportunities along Mill Road were identified that could benefit water quality and enhance biodiversity in the catchment. It follows work undertaken in the area as part of the Kaikōura Plains Recovery Project.

A restoration field trip was held recently, which gave Mill Road landowners who are taking part in the project an opportunity to view other existing sites, chat about ideas and visions for their properties and the general catchment.

Funding from the Zone Delivery Priority Projects Fund is helping us co-ordinate action, supply locally sourced native plants suitable for the area, and share information and resources with landowners including about mahinga kai protection. We are also helping landowners measure the success of their individual projects through methods like electric fishing. 

Landowners taking ownership

Project co-ordinator Jodie Hoggard said she’s proud of the role the landowners are playing in bettering their immediate environments and contributing to the overall improvement of catchment, for the community.

“Although the properties are all lifestyle and grazing properties, such land use can still have an impact on the environment. Albeit a less intensive use of the land, its still critical to keep stock out of waterways. Plus, the biodiversity benefits in these areas will be huge, it will create habitat and help provide more connection/corridors for birds to travel through, she said.

“These landowners are really keen to do the right thing, to look after their patch and so we’re thrilled to be partnering with them to get work like this across the line,” she added.

Work which was recommended for individual properties included further fencing for stock exclusion purposes, weed control, planting and installing plant guards, and infill planting.

Farmer with plants ready to be planted

Farmer with plants ready to be planted

Biodiversity benefits

Jodie said these actions will have a positive effect on the catchment over time.

“Excluding stock permanently, alongside other good land management practices, will go a long way to limiting nutrient loss into the stream, improving water quality and freshwater habitat,” she said.

Jodie said the Kaikōura Plains Recovery Project report on recommendations for whole catchment recovery in Waikōau/Lyell Creek, completed by NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research), has enabled Environment Canterbury to take a targeted approach and they’re using the report as a baseline.

“It will be interesting to compare the NIWA report to findings in five or ten years, to see what benefits the landowners in the catchment have noticed just from taking some simple steps in protection freshwater,” she said.

Fish found found through monitoring

Fish found through monitoring

Crustacean found found through monitoring

Crustacean found through monitoring

Electric fishing

Electric fishing is a tool used to monitor the number and type of fish species in a stream. Fish species are a good indicator for mahinga kai.

Monitoring from electric fishing on one of the properties on Mill Road found four kekewai/koura, 12 long fin tuna, six short fin tuna, one trout and eight other movements and sightings of other fish. The landowners have also previously spotted whitebait.

These were similar to the results from electric fishing at another property taking part in the project - six kekewai/koura, seven large tuna, one trout and seven movements/sightings were recorded at the site.

Electric fishing in action

Electric fishing in action

Next steps

Jodie said work will continue with landowners to progress projects on their properties.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how small but vital changes better the Mill Road catchment,” she said.

The project will eventually be incorporated into Kaikōura land management advisor Peter Bradshaw’s work, so he will continue to coordinate with landowners about what more needs to be done and provide any help or advice.

Find out more

Local landowners who are interested in assistance or resources for protecting or enhancing waterways on their properties can get in touch with our Kaikōura office by calling 03 319 5781 or with Pete by calling 0273022149.

Relevant links

For more information, check out these links: