Projects are easier when many hands are involved. Talk to your neighbours, friends and community members to find out if they share your interest in restoring your stream. Groups of landholders working together are particularly effective.
Gather information on the stream. Talk to people who live next to it, and recreate in it. Contact agencies such as Environment Canterbury and Fish and Game.
These areas have special management plans aimed at reducing the risk of flooding. If your stream is in one of these districts, you will need to consider this in your planning, such as leaving access for diggers or making sure your plantings do not reduce the stream’s ability to carry flood water.
Contact Customer Services at Environment Canterbury to find out if you are in a river rating district and get advice. Phone 0800 324 636.
Walk along the stream and look for what is good and what needs improvement. The photographs on the next few pages will help you identify whether your waterway is healthy. If your waterway looks mostly like the photos in the left-hand columns, it is probably in good shape. If your waterway looks more like the photos in the right-hand columns, stream life may be suffering and water quality is likely to be poor.
Gaining access to properties is the key to the stream walk. If good relations with landholders have already been established, access is unlikely to be refused. Do not enter anyone’s property without first having obtained permission.
Take photographs of the upstream and downstream views of the stream. This will be used for future comparison. Choose views that will not be grown out by future planting and mark the spot with a stake.
For consistency, it is best if just one or two people to do stream assessment.
You can contact an Environment Canterbury Resource Management Coordination team member for more guidance on how to do a stream walk.
During your stream walk you may have noticed some indicators of the state of the water quality, such as thick algal growth or dirty water, which can indicate poor water quality. If you are interested in more in-depth information, call Environment Canterbury. We can give advice on how to sample the water quality and let you know of any existing water quality data on your stream.
Contact Environment Canterbury’s customer services on 0800 324 636.
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