Cashmere Stream plantings a-plenty

Local landowners and community members armed themselves with spades and smiles to help the Cashmere Stream Care Group complete the final stage of a four-year restoration and enhancement planting project.

Around 2,500 natives have been planted in the headwaters of Cashmere Stream thanks to the Cashmere Stream Care Group (CSCG), local landowners, community members, and councils.

Fencing and plantings to enhance stream health

Fencing and plantings will protect the banks of the spring-fed stream against erosion and keep the water temperature cooler for the tuna/eels and bullies in the stream.

The shade provided by the plants will help decrease weed species in the stream and the habitat will be more suitable for kōura/freshwater crayfish, which have been spotted in the catchment.

“There was a lot of work that went into preparation of the site by our group members, landowners, Christchurch City Council (CCC), Ravensdown and Environment Canterbury,” Cashmere Stream Care Group Chair Ken Rouse said.

“It’s been a long journey but it’s great to see the outcome with well-established trees and the final round of plants in the ground."

The CSCG applied for funding, weeded in-stream and bank areas, carried out monitoring and, most importantly, worked with landowners throughout the entirety of the project.

Partnership approach delivers results

Sedimentation from bank damage from stock and the loss of native trees and plants contributed to the deterioration of the clarity and quality of the water.

Since 2016 more than $60,000 of Immediate Steps (IMS) biodiversity funding has been allocated to the project, as recommended by the Christchurch West Melton Water Zone Committee (CWMWZC). This funding went towards plants, plant guards and fencing, and maintenance of the plants for three years following completion.

More than $500,000 has been contributed through labour and resource from CCC.

“The project shows what can be achieved when landowners, community, and councils work together towards a common goal,” CWMWZC Chair Kevin Brown said.

“Protecting Cashmere Stream remains a priority for the health of the waterways throughout the catchment, including the Heathcote/Ōpāwaho River downstream.

“Seeing a project like this run so well and so collaboratively has been really inspiring,” he said.

Christchurch City Council invests in water

Christchurch City Council has added curves to the stream and re-contoured the banks to make them favourable for native plants like kahikatea, kaikōmako, kowhai, and koromiko.

They also undertook consenting, project management, earthworks, erosion and sediment control, and the major component of landscaping design and civil engineering.

“We introduced some ‘meanders’ (a winding course) into the stream, as it had been originally created into a straight, drain like waterway,” CCC Principal Waterways Ecologist, Dr Belinda Margetts, said.

“We also introduced some habitat in the forms of logs and planted the banks with native vegetation.

“The long-term benefits of the works in this stream, and the waterways in the wider catchment, is really worth investing in, to increase biodiversity and improve water quality,” she said.

One stream’s journey – a timeline

  • Between 2015 and 2020, CSCG’s meeting, management, site preparation, volunteer planting, and site maintenance is estimated at around 430 volunteer hours for each stage.
  • This works out to be an approximate cost of around $14,700 per stage, or $58,800 over the whole project.
  • Paired with IMS funding and CCC contributions through labour, resource and assistance, the total value of the restoration project is around $668,930. 

A summary of each stage:

Project Preparation: 2015 - 2016
group of people in field

Stage one site visit

  1. The first site visit by the Zone Committee and CSCG was carried out in December 2015 with landowners, CCC and us visiting the headwaters of the Cashmere Stream.
  2. The possibility of a project that would enhance the small spring-fed creek to make it a suitable habitat for kōura/freshwater crayfish was discussed.
  3. In early 2016, CSCG undertook baseline monitoring of water quality, fish, and invertebrates with the intention to monitor stream and ecology at the site into the future.
  4. Citycare carried out earthworks to recontour the banks, create stream meanders and fencing.
Stage One: 2016
  • IMS funding: $12,330
  • CCC contribution: $217,000
  1. In May 2016 CSCG was granted Immediate Steps biodiversity funding of $12,300 for planting of stage one.
  2. Combined with CCC’s consenting, project management, earthworks, erosion, sediment control, landscaping and civil engineering, the total cost for stage one was around $229,330.

Stage one - before (May 2016)

Stage one - before (May 2016)

Stage one - after (Dec 2017)

Stage one - after (Aug 2020)

Stage Two: 2016 - 2018
  • IMS funding: $25,000
  • CCC contribution: $32,000
  1. In November 2016, CSCG, landowners, and CCC were granted a further $25,000 Immediate Steps biodiversity funding to undertake stage two of the restoration project.
  2. The funding helped create 285m of fencing, and complete contouring and planting upstream of stage one.
  3. During the winter of 2017, bank contouring was carried out to make the banks more stable, plus further fencing and planting.
  4. Early December 2017 was all about mulch! CSCG and landowners had a mulching working bee, to provide some moisture retention around new plantings.
  5. The total cost of stage two is estimated at around $57,000.

Dec 2017 mulching working bee

Dec 2017 planting

Stage Three: 2018 - 2019
  • IMS funding: $11,900
  • CCC contribution: $91,000
  1. Stage three commenced over 2018/2019, with almost $12,000 of Immediate Steps biodiversity funding going towards stage three planting.
  2. Combined with CCC’s consenting, project management, earthworks, erosion, sediment control, landscaping and civil engineering, the total cost for stage three was around $102,900.

Stage three (June 2018)

Stage three

Stage three (5 months after planting)

Stage Four: 2020
  • IMS funding: $13,900
  • CCC contribution: $207,000
  1. Sunshine, spades and smiles as CSCG, landowners and community members worked together to complete planting for stage four, in August 2020. Almost $14,000 of IMS funding was allocated towards planting and fencing that will be completed later.
  2. The total cost of stage four is estimated at around $220,900.

Plantings along the banks of Cashmere Stream

Plantings along the banks of Cashmere Stream

Community members getting stuck in during the Stage Four planting day

Locals getting stuck in during the Stage Four planting day