Funding approved to protect Waimakariri wetlands

At its first meeting out of lockdown in early June, the Waimakariri Water Zone Committee allocated $59,000 from its Immediate Steps biodiversity fund to support the protection of a variety of wetland projects in the zone.

Each of the ten zone committees in Canterbury has $104,500 of Immediate Steps funding per year to spend on projects to protect and restore biodiversity in their community.

Zone committee chair Michael Blackwell said he was very pleased to see the committee focusing on these types of projects.

“I’d like to see Waimakariri sprout wetlands all through its network of creeks, streams and drainage systems to help filter run-off before it gets into waterways,” he said.

The four projects are at the Auld farm near Kaiapoi, Burgess Stream, Hammonds and Springvale.

Protecting two wetlands through willow, weed control

The Auld Farm project covers two wetlands and received $25,500 in funding over two years. The landowner is also contributing a substantial portion of the cost.

A hectare of swamp wetland plus 7.5-hectares of marsh in desperate need of willow and weed control rates highly in terms of the committee's ecological score rating for projects.

Landowner Nicky Auld said her family was delighted to progress the project.

“Controlling all the willows and weeds was in the too-hard basket without the zone committee funding. I would like to thank the team from Environment Canterbury who was there to help and advise on the best ways to protect these natural wetland treasures," she said.

Creating habitats, removing weeds and willows are key to success

The Burgess Stream project, supported by Waimakariri Irrigation Ltd, is a 0.1-hectare wetland needing improvement to create habitat and revegetate riparian margins with natives.

The zone committee allocated $10,000 to the project, with further funds coming from other sources.

Hammonds wetland project attracted the same $10,000 allocation as the Burgess Stream plan, with the landowner also contributing.

A 3.5-hectare wetland makes up part of a larger wetland complex dominated by native species but with woody weeds at the margins. This project scored highly in terms of ecological significance.

Springvale wetland, supported by Waimakariri District Council, is a 12.3-hectare flaxland dominated by native species but invaded by willows.

It also attracted a high ecological score, the aim being to provide improved habitat for bird, fish and invertebrate populations.

The zone committee allocated $14,000 to this project, with others pitching into the total cost of $21,000. If you have a project you think will benefit the environment, read more information on how to apply for Immediate Steps funding here.

Immediate Steps projects funding breakdown:

  • Auld Farm - $25,500, with $17,000 allocated in 2020, and $8500 in 2021
  • Burgess Stream - $10,000
  • Hammonds wetland - $10,000
  • Springvale wetland - $14,000
  • Previous years' funding was already committed to two projects - the White Rock Mains QEII Covenant project ($28,000); and the Mānuka Swamp project ($25,000).

 A closer look at the wetlands