Christchurch West Melton zone biodiversity
The Christchurch West Melton zone extends from the northern parts of the Port Hills to the southern bank of the Waimakariri River.
The Waimakariri River once flowed through Christchurch, forming an area that is rich in deep alluvial soils with interspersed peaty soils and coastal sands.
These diverse soil types once supported a variety of ecosystems including impressive podocarp forests, and abundant freshwater springs which formed the various low-gradient streams and extensive wetland networks.
The abundant freshwater springs throughout the zone support a network of low gradient streams and rivers including the Avon/Ōtākaro, Heathcote/Ōpāwaho, Styx/Pūrākaunui and Ōtūkaikino and catchments.
A number of peaty wetlands occur in historic back swamp areas including Travis Wetland and the Sanctuary wetlands, which is the largest wetland area on the lower Waimakariri River. The Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai and Brooklands Lagoon are the two largest examples of these habitats within the zone.