South Canterbury environmental projects awarded $41,000

The Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora (OTOP) Water Zone Committee has today allocated $41,000 of funding for three projects aimed at protecting native wildlife.

  • A project planting and controlling pests at Waitarakao/Washdyke Lagoon will receive $10,000; 
  • the Orari River Protection Group will receive $15,000 for its predator control work;
  • and funding of $16,000 will go to Grange Hill farm to fence off native plants and waterways for a new QEII land protection covenant.

The three projects were approved by the committee through the Immediate Steps (IMS) biodiversity fund on Monday 6 July at its meeting in the Timaru District Council chambers.

Our zone delivery lead for OTOP, Brian Reeves, said he was pleased the initiatives were approved by the water zone committee.

“Getting key projects like these underway for the area shows the commitment of the zone committee to improving biodiversity in our local waterways.

“These three projects all aim to protect precious native flora and fauna unique to our area by working in partnership with local volunteers, landowners and organisations.

“What’s just as valuable as the money for plants and pest control is that the projects also offer the potential for education and sharing of ideas and good practice to others.”

Waitarakao Lagoon

Waitarakao/Washdyke Lagoon will have weeds controlled and natives planted in their place, thanks to a $10,000 grant.

Waitarakao/Washdyke Lagoon planting and pest control

A 2.4-hectare area of Waitarakao/Washdyke Lagoon and traditional mahinga kai site will be planted with native species, after weed control and pest trapping has taken place.

With $10,000 of IMS funding, the first stage of the project will control weeds like gorse, tamarisk and Canary reed grass and a variety of natives planted, including toitoi, harakeke and tororaro (muehlenbeckia).

The project activity team will align with the Waitarakao Steering Group and rūnanga to ensure this planting project fits within future plans for the lagoon over the next few years.

There will also be opportunities for community engagement, which could include planting events.

Black bill Gulls - Orari River Protection

The Orari River Protection Group received $15,000 of funding to help protect endangered native birds like the blac-billed gull.

Orari River biodiversity protection

The Orari River is home to endangered endemic bird colonies such as black-billed gulls and black-fronted terns.

There are also significant natural areas throughout the gorge, including habitat for multiple rare lizard species.

The Orari River Protection Group, made up of volunteers, has educated nearby landowners, undertaken manual weed control, pest trapping and predator control work along the river gorge and plans to continue this work with some support.

The water zone committee’s $15,000 contribution to the project will fund equipment and tools to control gorse and broom; encourage native vegetation to flourish, and reduce the impact of predators like possums and stoats.

Native gully protection at Grange Hill

Grange Hill

A biodiversity project in Grange Hill has received $16,000 of Immediate Steps funding.

Excluding stock from a creek and surrounding gully in Maungati will protect 100-year-old native kōwhai and broadleaf species and allow the area to begin regenerating.

The hill country cattle and sheep farm will receive $16,000 of IMS funding to share the costs of fencing the nearly 3 km² area, which will also become protected with a QEII land protection covenant.

If action is not taken, natives such as five-finger and lacebark would be unable to flourish and take back areas lost to invasive, more dominant, species.

More about the water zone committee

The water zone committee is made up of community members, rūnanga representatives and councillors from Timaru, Mackenzie and Waimate District Councils, as well as Environment Canterbury.

The committee's role is to work with the community to develop actions and tactics to deliver on the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

If you have a biodiversity project that would benefit from IMS funding, check the application list to see if you are eligible.