A series of biodiversity projects has improved awareness of the special values of streams and rivers throughout Waimakariri Irrigation Limited (WIL’s) catchment area.
Biodiversity project lead Dan Cameron says knowledge and understanding of the land and water contained within WIL’s command area has grown exponentially since the initial biodiversity stock take of the scheme identified 297 sites of interest in 2018.
“We also identified four lowland freshwater stream systems, three of which were not widely known.”
Seven projects have been started across four lowland stream catchments across the scheme, including two projects at Cust River, three projects at Burgess Stream and one project each at Old Eyre and Hunters streams.
Planting work started last week on one of the Burgess Stream projects; the first stage in a series of linked projects which aim to restore the length of the stream.
“Burgess Stream has presented us with a fantastic opportunity for WIL shareholders to enable catchment-scale restoration right from the beginning. While there have been many learnings along the way, it’s very exciting to be seeing everybody’s efforts turning the vision into a reality
Work on Burgess Stream will protect the important values around the spring head and the area further downstream where the water leaves the WIL catchment area and flows through lifestyle blocks.
“It’s the perfect opportunity for the wider community to see the value in the work we are doing to protect the environment as the waterway literally flows through their properties.”
All shareholders Dan has worked with now have biodiversity plans in place that enable them to comply with regulatory requirements around biodiversity and freshwater. These plans also provide evidence of shareholders’ environmental guardianship and a willingness to be proactive in terms of enhancing streams and waterways on or near landowner’s properties.
“Landowners can also use this documentation to apply for funding from other sources to continue on with their environmental improvement projects on-farm, so the biodiversity plans are useful for a myriad of different purposes. Some landowners have been able to secure up to 50 per cent of the funding required for their projects.
“The biodiversity plans also help to identify action points which can be woven into an FEP such as planting and stock exclusion which can deal with point source issues.”
Dan says that based on what he has seen throughout the entire scheme, WIL is truly leading the way in terms of the holistic approach it is taking to enhancing biodiversity and improving the ecological values of land and waterways in its catchment area.
“It is really impressive to see everyone from shareholders to staff and board members all working collectively to restore and enhance the environment. We are also building strong community relationships and providing hands-on learning opportunities for Waimakariri school children through our community outreach project with West Eyreton School.”
Shareholders who would like assistance with putting together a biodiversity plan for their property can contact Dan via email – firstname.lastname@example.org