Funding approved for two Hurunui Waiau biodiversity projects

At its last meeting for 2019, the Hurunui Waiau Water Zone Committee allocated nearly $134,000 from its Immediate Steps Fund to be applied to two significant projects, one in the Tūtaeputaputa / Conway River area and the other near Waiau.

The projects

Beltana Bush fencing project (Tūtaeputaputa / Conway River)

This project will protect more than 100 rare native plants and a range of special wildlife including at risk / declining species:

  • galaxiids (whitebait species)
  • long-finned eel
  • native falcon (kārearea)

Mount Guardian Covenant project (near Waiau)

This long-term project is now in year two of three.

The area is home to nearly 200 varieties of native plants and many important birds and fish including several at risk / declining species.

There is a particular need to keep deer out because their grazing is one of the main hindrances to restoration of species like matai.

Zone Committee supports biodiversity projects

Zone Committee Acting Chair Ken Hughey said he was pleased that the committee unanimously supported these projects.

“They are great examples of committed landowners putting a large amount of effort into areas of high biodiversity value which hopefully in time the community may be able to enjoy too,” he said.

“Another exciting aspect to this work is that landowners and a variety of funders are combining to see a network of neighbouring valleys achieving context-appropriate protection. This is particularly notable along parts of the Conway area coastline.”

Project investments

In 2018/19 the Zone Committee invested $129,000 in seven different Immediate Steps projects.

Between 2011 and 2019 it committed around $860,000 to 33 projects covering several ecosystem types and in a number of different locations. For example, it funded three projects over five years to help the rare bird species living in the Hurunui and Waiau rivers, via Southern black-backed gull control, island enhancement, and surveys to monitor results and action.

Initial indications are that this programme is being successful.

About the Immediate steps programme

The Immediate Steps biodiversity programme was established to help address the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) targets/goals for ecosystem health and biodiversity.

Immediate Steps funding is allocated to each of Canterbury's water management zones for projects that address these targets/goals.

It is guided and underpinned by the Canterbury Biodiversity Strategy. The first priority is to protect what remains and then to restore what has been lost.

A series of assessments are undertaken:

Protection is likely to cost significantly less than restoration and to provide greater ecological integrity. 

There will be benefits to landscape and cultural values, recreational pursuits and community engagement. 

Protection often takes the form of fencing, weed and pest control and strategic restoration.

Landowners are required to contribute funding as well as often their own labour.

Find out more about Immediate Steps funding.

Feature image: Beltana Bush II - Overview from NW