Native planting boosts Orari springwater creek

More than 4000 native plants have been planted along the Ohapi Creek waterway to help safeguard the water quality of the creek and improve the habitat for native species, as part of the partnership project between local farmers and Environment Canterbury.

Freshwater crayfish, edible watercress and plenty of eels have been discovered along a natural springwater creek in Orari following a native planting project.

Contractor Chris Goad (left) and dairy farmer Frances Coles have worked together

Outcomes of the partnership

Contractor Chris Goad, who carried out most of the planting for dairy farmers Frances and Aaron Coles, said she has already noticed positive changes.

“The native regrowth already is amazing.  Stock have been excluded and fenced back from this creek for a long time, so it was already very clean, but the natives are growing fast.  In a few more years it will be really well-established.”

Chris had some company while undertaking the year-long planting project, finding freshwater crayfish and encountering many native eels.

“I had an eel following me while grubbing around plants – and then the next thing, it caught a trout!  And I’ve never seen that before!”

Native watercress has also been growing in abundance, although this is expected to grow less quickly once the natives provide more shade along the waterway, giving a more natural balance between water and plant-life.

Improving the land for future generations

Frances Coles, who owns Coles Farms with her husband Aaron, says the planting project was about improving the land for future generations.

“It just makes sense to do our bit to leave the land in a better state than when we got it.  It’s definitely a project that we are keen to get some community involvement, over time, as the plants get established.  It would be quite cool to have school groups come along here and have a look at the habitat and how we are improving things and do a bit of a stream study.”

Immediate Steps Project to replant native species along Ohapi Creek near Orari

Environment Canterbury's Immediate steps programme

The Orari Opihi Temuka Orari Pareora Zone Committee approved the funding of $9000, one third of the total cost of the planting project, through its Immediate Steps programme, which supports on-the-ground actions to protect wetlands, springs, coastal streams, braided rivers, lakes and lowland streams.  These actions include fencing and planting riparian buffer areas as well as weed and pest management.