Regenerating eco-corridors and empowering whanaungatanga in Waimakariri

Fonterra is supporting biodiversity protection and enhancement on five dairy farms in the Waimakariri water zone.

Most recently, Sustainable Catchments has supported work in the Rakahuri (Lower Ashley) catchment on two dairy farms – one located in the Lower Waikuku Stream area and the other in the lower Saltwater Creek area – to carry out actions to improve riparian management and enhance native biodiversity on-farm.

These are just two of the five projects in the area supported by Fonterra Sustainable Catchments.

Lower Waikuku Stream riparian plan progressing

The Sustainable Catchments programme has helped advance a long-term riparian management plan at the farm in the Lower Waikuku Stream. The plan has been progressing over the last six years and will continue for another five or more years.

Before intervention - since this image was taken, the riparian buffer has been expanded by putting the fence further away from the stream, and infill planting has now been completed in that buffer.

Before intervention - since this image was taken, the riparian buffer has been expanded by putting the fence further away from the stream, and infill planting has now been completed in that buffer

“Fonterra’s support has helped fund the infill planting of a widened riparian buffer zone with taller tree species along one kilometre of the stream,” Northern biodiversity officer Zipporah Ploeg said.

“The farmer moved the fence to increase the riparian buffer zone between the stream and productive land. This has allowed for more planting to take place along the stream edge.

“By adding a mix of taller and medium height trees to the newly created upper bank zone, the overall effectiveness of the planting will be enhanced by the shading the taller species can provide and overall greater bank stabilisation,” Zipporah said.

“This also reduces macrophyte weed growth and water temperature.”

The programme of work has also supported some other plantings on the farm, including creating a five-metre riparian buffer zone alongside one waterway and adding some more species into a wetland area in a bid to enhance its diversity.

Rakahuri wetland woody weed control

Work has also been completed on a farm in the lower Saltwater Creek area. The property is a significant tributary to Te Aka Aka (Ashley Estuary) and the Rakahuri/Ashley River hāpua/rivermouth and Fenton areas (set aside for mahinga kai harvesting).

The wetland benefiting from support.

The wetland benefitting from support

“Identified in Mahaanui Iwi Management Plan as a high value tributary for mahinga kai (food gathering) sources, the area requires improved management to restore mahinga kai habitat, Zipporah said.

“Fonterra’s Sustainable Catchments programme is helping with willow and other woody weed control in a wetland on the property.”

“Controlling the willows allows native plants in the wetland to establish, with the possibility of adding more native plants to help enhance naturalising the area,” she said.

Staff have also worked with the farmer to develop a wetland action plan to help re-establish the wetland to a more natural state.

Support for the projects

Sean Spencer, Sustainable Dairying Advisor at Fonterra said “the Sustainable Catchments work helps link the farms in this area to the wider natural environment. This work will help ensure on farm practice takes into consideration the catchment wide environmental effects and enhances on farm biodiversity where possible. This is important work and a real privilege to be a part of.”

Zipporah said Fonterra’s support for the two projects has been vital.

“It’s really amazing seeing what can be done with a bit of collaboration, these projects are benefiting immensely from the funding.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the farmers and Fonterra to progress these projects and can’t wait to see the outcomes for each of the five Fonterra funded sites,” she said.

“I believe that in a hundred years’ time, we will see an amazing mosaic of greenways running from the foothills to the sea by the collective actions such as these.”

Find out more:

Read about Fonterra’s Sustainable Catchments programme, and their projects in the North Canterbury area: