Hinds Drains field trip provides opportunity to share information

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 and the Eiffelton Irrigation Scheme.

The Freshwater Ecology Research Group is working with farmers to understand the effectiveness of different riparian management practices.

The Eiffelton Irrigation Scheme is maintaining cultural and ecology values in some drains by pumping groundwater and using the drains to convey water elsewhere for irrigation.