Community bands together to plant out Waihao River

Great things can be achieved by a small group of passionate individuals – just ask the Waihao Wainono Catchment Community Group.

The Catchment Group, made up of volunteers, set upon McCullochs Bridge on 10 October, for a community planting day which saw nearly 700 natives planted.

The Group was well supported by about 60 community members, Lower Waitaki Water Zone Committee members and a couple of our Councillors, who turned up to lend a hand at the planting day.

Planting native trees and grasses can help river bank areas by filtering runoff, stabilising soils and creating a more diverse habitat for invertebrates, birds and lizards.

A community day to remember

After the hundreds of natives were planted, volunteers were rewarded for their hard work by a complimentary barbecue.

group of people at a community planting day

The community planting day was a roaring success

Our southern biodiversity officer Kennedy Lange was knee-deep in the planting day and said the turnout and enthusiasm from the community were amazing.

“They are super motivated and love getting things done. It was a fantastic turnout for a very worthy community project. And what an exciting way to enhance and further establish our recreation areas along the Waihao River.

“The overall vision is to restore and enhance the McCullochs Bridge and Black Hole area back to their former glory as a highly valued recreation site, alongside improving water quality and biodiversity,” Lange said.

Zone Committee Chair Bruce Murphy said although the river has had poor water quality readings of late, the Committee is “keen to see that turnaround and will continue supporting important community projects such as this one.”

Support from Zone Committee 

photo of Peter Scott and Elizabeth McKenzie (Councillors)

Cr. Scott and Cr. McKenzie lent a hand

One of the goals of the Lower Waitaki Water Zone Committee is for the community to take widespread ownership of catchment health.

The Zone Committee has previously funded projects of the Catchment Group and is keen to take part in more community-led projects in future.

Biodiversity funding

As part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS), the Lower Waitaki Zone Committee can recommend that Environment Canterbury provide funding of $100,000 per year to support projects through the Immediate Steps biodiversity protection and restoration programme.

If you have a community-led environmental project in mind, find out how you can benefit from Immediate Steps biodiversity funding

All images credited to Sharyn Cain.