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Local biodiversity project given boost

Published: 15/06/2012 9:06 a.m. 

Work to protect and enhance Te Wharau Stream at Orton Bradley Park will be carried out thanks to Immediate Steps funding from the Banks Peninsula Zone Committee.

The Orton Bradley Park Board recognises the native biodiversity values of its local waterways. The Board has been working towards excluding stock from the streams and tributaries, and providing large areas along the banks for native plants to thrive.

More than $40,000 is being spent to further the Board’s efforts by funding native plants, upgrading fencing, and installing two stock crossing culverts. 

Banks Peninsula Zone Committee Chair Richard Simpson said it is pleasing to see how the work of the zone committee is able to help protect local biodiversity values.

“The Te Wharau Stream is rich with biodiversity values. There are many species of native freshwater invertebrates and fish.

“The work funded under the Immediate Steps programme will further improve the in-stream health by providing better habitat for invertebrates and fish as well as the numerous native birds that reside within the park boundaries.

“The funding will enable the Board and its supporters to continue the great work they do to help protect and enhance native biodiversity and provide a publicly accessible environment for people to learn from and enjoy.

“The Board’s own efforts and the work it will be able to do with the support of Immediate Steps far exceeds the requirements set under the new stock exclusion rules in the Natural Resources Regional Plan, making it an excellent case for support,” he said.

Seven native fish species have been recorded in the stream, including the declining red-fin bully and longfinned eel, as well as 26 species of caddisfly which indicate that the quality of the water flowing in Te Wharau stream is very good.

The majority of the Te Wharau stream lies within the park boundaries, and it is one of the few streams which permanently flow in to Lyttelton Harbour.

The Orton Bradley Park Board also undertakes an extensive programme of weed and pest control and native planting each year.

Orton Bradley Park Manager Ian Luxford said the park is a valuable resource for the local community and it is important that its diverse values are protected.

“The park offers many educational programmes which seek to engage the community with the protection of New Zealand's natural environment. It also provides many recreational opportunities for the public to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

“The Immediate Steps funding will help ensure the water quality of the stream is protected and enhanced, ensuring its rich values can be enjoyed for years to come.

“We appreciate the support we have received and look forward to getting stuck in and getting the work done’ he said.

Work is expected to be completed on the project by the end of this summer.

Immediate Steps is a $10 million programme for biodiversity which forms part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. The programme has an initial five year focus and covers the protection of endangered species and waahi taonga (sacred sites). It also covers maintenance of Canterbury’s braided rivers, providing habitat for native flora and fauna, as well as protecting wetlands and other ecosystems.

Zone Committees are charged with distributing the funding for their area and there is also significant funding available to the Regional Committee to support regionally significant biodiversity projects. The Immediate Steps funding model requires applicants to contribute one third in cash or kind towards the project.

Four Immediate Steps projects were approved by the Banks Peninsula Zone Committee in December.

During this, the first round of funding, four projects were supported to a total value of more than $65,000. Each project was subjected to ecological and cultural value assessments by scientific experts and rūnanga representatives.

The four projects are:

  • Orton Bradley Park culvert installation, fencing, and riparian planting;
  • Fencing out regenerating native bush and the headwaters of Haylocks Stream;
  • Willow control and riparian planting along a stretch of the Okana River, in Little River;
  • Willow control, riparian planting and the installation of permanent stock proof fencing along a significant stretch of the Opuahou Stream, in Little River.

At its upcoming meetings the Banks Peninsula Zone Committee will continue to work on how to allocate the rest of the available Immediate Steps funding for the zone.

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