Fernside stream restoration project kicks off

Waimakariri Zone Committee chair David Ashby and deputy chair Grant Edge check the first stage of a 1.8km Fernside waterway restoration project.

Work has begun on a collaborative stream restoration project with 15 Fernside landowners joining forces to improve a 1.8km waterway which flows from a springhead near the Number Four Drain to Fernside Road.

A fence has been removed and sediment cleared from the stream to protect the springhead. Riparian planting will start in spring with a minimum setback of five metres from the stream to improve in-stream health and biodiversity.

The group of farmers and lifestyle block owners received $49,710 of Immediate Steps funding from the Waimakairiri Zone Committee for native plants, plant guards and maintenance. The landowners are contributing over $125,000 of “in kind” resources to the riparian planting project.

Riparian planting will provide shade which in turn reduces water temperature and decreases the amount of exotic weed growth.  A wider range of plant species will increase habitat value and sediment traps will help to increase water flow and reduce run-off into the stream.

Waimakariri Zone Committee chair David Ashby, whose farm borders the springhead, says due to the size of the project the work will be carried out in stages. He sees the project as a pilot to understand the best way for different groups of landowners to work together to improve local streams and rivers.

“It’s a massive project and we’re all going to work together to make it happen. It’s about talking the talk and walking the walk to make change happen.

“We’ve all got different roles to play in this project with one person setting aside a large paddock to create a wetland and everyone giving up a bit of their land to make this vision a reality.

“Hopefully in the future we’ll see a significant improvement in this waterway and the return of native species such as kēkēwai (freshwater crayfish).”