Plans firmly in place for the Selwyn Waihora Water Zone Committee

Featured image: Lincoln Primary School students at a recent planting day

Four Selwyn Waihora projects will be able to steam ahead, thanks to support from the local water zone committee.

The Selwyn Waihora Water Zone Committee has recommended the allocation of just over $42,000 of its Action Plan budget for this year. The projects align with the committee's priority objectives to enhance mahinga kai, biodiversity and recreation opportunities.

Boat Creek Reserve

The first of these projects to receive the committee's support is the Boat Creek Reserve restoration project, which it also supported last year.

So far, the project has seen close to 8,000 native seedlings planted, a predator control programme developed, a large strip of unwanted vegetation cleared, and a fence, gateway, and bridge constructed.

The committee has recommended $12,000 of its Action Plan budget go towards the project again this year. That will go towards widening a buffer on the side of the creek to reinforce weed control efforts and a hydrodynamics information panel to help tell the story of the area.

Kids Discovery Plant-out day

The committee has also agreed to support a Te Ara Kākāriki (TAK) Kids' Discovery Plant-out day at Te Motu o Ahuriri. It has recommended $8,756 towards the plant-out, which covers all costs for the day including planting and education on mahinga kai, invertebrates, the journey of the awa/river, raranga/weaving, and rongoā/medicine.

The plant-out day will see students participate in a local project which provides them with opportunities to make a real difference to the natural spaces they feel connected to.

It will also go towards putting together a sign acknowledging the contribution of Lincoln Primary School, the work undertaken onsite, and why, as well as encouraging the public to get involved.

Te Motu o Ahuriri is within the lower Te Waihora catchment and sits alongside the Huritini/Halswell River. It is located between TAK's legacy site - Te Pae o Ahuriri and the Ahuriri Lagoon. Planting will help filter nutrients entering the Huritini/Halswell River and contributes towards improving the health of the waterway.

The funding will help publicise and support at least two planting days per year.

Tinaku project coordination support

The committee has recommended $10,000 for riparian project coordination support for Ellesmere Sustainable Agriculture Incorporated Tinaku project.

The aim of the project is to protect and enhance the remaining remnants of native biodiversity within the Ellesmere area and to improve water quality in the lowland waterways that feed into Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere and Muriwai o Whata/Coopers Lagoon through multiple restoration projects.

Project management and coordination have been vital to the success of the project overall and involves working with landowners and contractors, identifying projects to support, drafting restoration plans, securing plants, and reporting.

The project will enable ESAI to continue helping landowners to achieve positive environmental outcomes on their properties.

Corbetts Road wetland restoration

Finally, the committee has recommended $12,970 toward another Ellesmere Sustainable Agriculture Incorporated (ESAI) project, the first stage of planting a wetland located on Corbetts Road.

The project will see the planting of 1300 native plants in a bid to restore the natural biodiversity of the wetland and its abutting dryland terrace, to filter runoff from the paddocks, and to uptake nutrients from the groundwater seepage. Additionally, the planting aims to improve the habitat for native wildlife and increase mahinga kai values.

This funding sits alongside that provided by ESAI and the landowner, who have made significant contributions towards this wetland project, including fencing out the wetland and willow control, as well as planting and maintenance costs.

The site is located on the lower reaches of the Waikirikiri/Selwyn River. The river forms a key corridor across the Canterbury Plains, connecting directly between Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere and the foothills.

This project also aligns with the committee's priority objective to facilitate actions to achieve catchment nutrient targets and water quality outcomes. It also falls within the Selwyn/Waikirikiri catchment - which is a priority for the committee.