Article by the Ashburton Zone Committee
Landowners are being offered help in planting and riverbank works in three streams in the Ashburton area so scientists can study how this improves waterway health.
Ashburton water management zone committee chair Donna Field said $38,500 from Environment Canterbury’s Immediate Steps fund would help pay for site preparation, locally sourced native plantings, bank re-shaping (to reduce erosion) as well as ongoing maintenance in the three streams. In the Ashburton zone around $300,000 has been allocated across 20 Immediate Steps projects, including these three.
The landowners applied for the funding, and have already started work, at:
Donna Field said the University of Canterbury Freshwater Ecology Research Group will help with restoration at each site. The group would then measure the success of techniques used to reduce the impact of pollutants in waterways.
“We get value for money in this partnership between Environment Canterbury, Canterbury University and landowners,” she said.
The study comes under the research group’s Canterbury Waterway Rehabilitation Experiment (CaREx) which is developing and testing tools for rehabilitating lowland waterways. Funded by the Mackenzie Charitable Foundation since 2008, the project extends across 10 sites in lowland Canterbury.
Immediate Steps funding
The $10 million Immediate Steps biodiversity protection and restoration fund was launched in 2010 as part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. It provides funding and support for community initiatives to improve water quality across the 10 zones in Canterbury.
If you want to find out more about what help is available under the Immediate Steps programme contact senior biodiversity officer Jodi Rees (phone 027 225 6396 oremail firstname.lastname@example.org ).
The Ashburton Zone Committee meets every fourth Tuesday of each month.
5 Baring Square West
Read past agendas and minutes
28 July 2014: Ashburton Zone Committee meeting
June 2014: Managing our water resources
19 June 2014: Ashburton Zone Committee meeting
27 May 2014: Ashburton Zone Committee meeting
The Ashburton Zone Committee finalised its Zone Implementation Programme (ZIP) in mid-2011 following an extensive community engagement.
The ZIP outlines the actions, responsibilities and time-frames for activities to achieve the principles, targets, and goals of the CWMS.
The committee is now focused on working with Ashburton District Council and Environment Canterbury staff to implement its recommendations.
In particular, it has been focused on working with the community to develop water quality limits for a Hinds–Rangitata sub-regional plan to feed in to Environment Canterbury's proposed Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP).
Other water management issues the committee has been considering include the long-term issue of groundwater and drinking water quality.
The Ashburton Zone Committee has been working closely with the community to develop water quality and quantity limits for the Hinds Plains area.
These limits are in an addendum to the committee’s ZIP, which was developed to deliver the community’s aspirations for fresh-water use.
The ZIP Addendum has been accepted by Environment Canterbury and the Ashburton District Council.
These limits outlined in the Addendum will be incorporated in a sub-regional section of the LWRP.
For a copy of the Addendum click here
Hinds Drains Working Party A3 Rangitata
Hinds Drains Working Party Ashburton
Hinds Drains Working Party Longbeach to Hinds
Hinds Drains Working Party Overview
The Hinds Drains Working Party got underway with a field trip on the 20 June. The working party is chaired by local farmer Peter Lowe, and a core task of the group is to assist the Ashburton Zone Committee to develop recommendations on minimum flows and surface water allocation for the water bodies in the lower Hinds Plains by December 2015. The working party is also investigating options such as managed aquifer recharge and hopes to work with Ashburton District Council as it investigates more efficient ways of delivering stock water to users.
The field trip provided an opportunity to share information and local knowledge. The Hinds Drains area was once dominated by a vast wetland fed by the Hinds River and numerous springs. The wetland had enormous cultural significance and biodiversity values, but in the 1850s the agricultural potential of the area was recognised and draining the wetland began. It is now one of the most productive agricultural areas in Canterbury but unfortunately cultural and biodiversity values have declined. The challenge now is to maintain its productivity while improving cultural and biodiversity values.
A number of landowners in the area have already taken action. The group visited some of these, such as the Canterbury mudfish habitat created by Synlait on a Waterton dairy farm, and learned of a number of others, such as The University of Canterbury Freshwater Ecology Research Group which is working with farmers to understand the effectiveness of different riparian management practices, and the Eiffelton Irrigation Scheme which is maintaining cultural and ecology values in some drains by pumping groundwater and using the drains to convey water elsewhere for irrigation.
Canterbury Water Management Strategy (pdf 3.28 MB)
Ashburton ZIP (pdf 2.42 MB)
Ashburton Water Management Zone - Update of regulation requirements for water takes of 20 l/s or more (May 2013) (pdf 229 kB)
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