It is a far cry from the days when the stream lived up to its name. Then, it was permanently dirty because of stock continually entering the stream to drink. The transformation has been wrought by landowners in the Boggy Creek stream care group who have, since 2003, carried out fencing and planting with assistance from Environment Canterbury’s Environment Enhancement Fund (EEF). Others have installed stock water schemes, bridges, culverts, and fences at their own cost.
Boggy Creek, which flows into Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, is one of only a few streams that flow into the lake that showed an increase in spawning sites in a survey undertaken for Environment Canterbury in August 2005. The survey counted 91 redds in 2005, which exceeded the August 1984 count of 62 redds in the same reaches. 10.7 km, of the 14.9 km surveyed length, was considered to have suitable spawning gravels.
Doyleston dairy farmer Phil Garrett is one of many farmers who have done a large amount of work to help improve Boggy Creek. With the help of an Environment Enhancement Fund grant in 2003, and again in 2005, he is restoring the middle section of the stream to closer to its natural state. He fenced off the stream to keep out cattle and cleared gorse, willows, poplars and pampas, planting instead natives such as Carex secta, which had previously disappeared from the stream banks. The trout spawning survey counted 24 redds in this 1.8 km stretch in 2005, compared to only 6 in 1984. Phil’s efforts – fencing, planting, and weed control – have cost more than $20,000, but they have more than paid off. Phil’s next project is to develop a small native reserve in an old meander of Boggy Creek.
Environment Canterbury's water monitoring reveals his improvements have not only improved trout spawning but also reduced the stream’s sediment levels. Phil says the stream is unrecognisable from when the project began. “The creek now flows clear most of the time,” he says. “The native plants are providing shade and reducing water weed growth. We probably won’t need to get diggers in again to clean out the water weeds.”
Due to its success, David Hewson, Senior Resource Care Officer for Environment Canterbury, has taken school groups and people from other areas to Boggy Creek to inspire them to see what is possible in their areas. David would like to thank the stream care group members for their generosity with access to their stream and the time they have given to explain the project and progress to visitors.
A 'redd' is an area in the bottom of the stream that a spawning fish makes to lay its eggs. Eggs are laid in small pockets excavated in the gravel. The female fish then dislodges gravel from immediately upstream to cover her eggs. A single trout redd may be up to one metre wide and 2 metres long.
If you would like to know more about this project or the Living Streams programme, please contact Environment Canterbury and ask for a Resource Management Coordination team member for your district.
(03) 353 9007
0800 324 636 (EC INFO)
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