Biodiversity funding helps protect gecko habitat

Some of the smallest residents at the Orari Gorge got a helping hand recently thanks to a grant from the zone committee’s Immediate Steps biodiversity fund.

The committee granted $36,500 towards a four-year project to protect the gecko habitat at the Orari Gorge by tackling a number of species of pest plants.

The project will not only protect four species of Canterbury lizards, two gecko and two skink, but also a number of threatened plant and bird species.

Members of the Orari River Protection Group have been clearing weeds from the area for a number of years, but this support will lend a helping hand to access some tough to reach areas.

A helicopter will be used to access the steep sides of the gorge to clear pest plants, but volunteers will continue to be the driving force behind this project.

The part of the project that is funded by the Immediate Steps programme will start this spring to coincide with the flowering of broom in the gorge so they are more visible.

The gorge is also a popular spot for swimming, fishing and picnics – so the funding boost will also help to improve the area for recreational users as well.