Waihora Ellesmere Catchment Riparian Restoration Programme
How did it start?
Following the Living Lake Symposium in 2007, there was general agreement that riparian, or water edge, planting with natives would be beneficial for the different values of the Lake and catchment. With a track record of successful projects, WET successfully sought funding to implement an extensive programme of riparian planting.
The project started in 2008 and has seen over 50,000 natives planted at over 20 different locations. A summary of the project can be accessed by clicking on this link.
In addition to support we received from Environment Canterbury, Selwyn District Council and others, funding for the riparian restoration programme came from the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry Sustainable Farming Fund (funding over 3 years until June 2011) and the Ministry for the Environment’s Sustainable Management Fund (funding for one year to October 2010). We also secured funding from WWF and DOC for restoration of Canterbury mudfish habitat.
WET has worked collaboratively with landowners and others including ECan, SDC, Ngai Tahu, DOC, Fish & Game, MAF, MfE, community organisations, streamcare groups, businesses, schools, research organisations and volunteers. Over the 3 years in excess of 50,000 native plants were established at over 20 different sites. WET has worked with landowners to ensure projects receive ongoing maintenance until they are self supporting.
As part of the restoration programme, and in conjunction with a number of other parties, we have identified some priority catchments, where we are particulary keen to focus attention. These are: Hororata, LI/LII/Liffey, Waikekewai, Kaituna, Johnsons Rd, Waianiwaniwa, Silverstream, and Leeston. WET also continued to focus on the Halswell catchment.
Staff and students from Lincoln University have compiled a report profiling each of the priority catchments. The profiles are presented as snaphots and include data that contributed to the prioritisation and data from research undertaken subsequently. There are many gaps in the information as recorded and it is hoped that this will inspire future research.
What did we learn?
Early in the project we produced an information pack containing a set of information sheets, which can be dowloaded here (1.6MB). Information covers the project, the benfits of riparian planting and good management, and some examples of good practice.
The programme provided a lot of information and helped us to understand what works well in the catchment.We have now produced a new flyer summarising some of the key points to consider when undertaking riparian restoration and outlining the costs of each stage.
For all the sites we have been involved with, plant communities have been designed to suit the specific location and to perform a range of functions:
- protecting and stabilising stream banks
- reducing erosion
- allowing flood waters to pass freely
- creating shade, which reduces weed growth in waterways
- improving water quality – a buffer between land use and waterways traps sediments and nutrients
- improving stream health
- enhancing biodiversity by providing corridors for wildlife
The Old Tai Tapu Road streamcare group, together with ECan, organised a very successful community planting day at Osterholts Rd, which was part of the riparian restoration prgramme. They are hoping to extend this planting to other areas of the Halswell catchment.
The extensive riparian planting and other work carried out at Mitchell’s Rd to protect the endangered the Canterbury mudfish was also part of the programme.
Have a look at what was achieved
WET and the Sustainable Drain Management team (our new project which buids on the success of the riparian planting programme) have put together a simple guide to some of the riparian restoration sites around the catchment.
The guide features 12 sites planted between 2008 and 2011, as part of the Waihora Ellesmere Catchement Riparian Restoration Programme, plus suggestions of a few more established sites that can be visited.
If you’d like to see how our waterways can be transformed, these sites are well worth a visit.
Other related information
Our Research page includes some information and links to some recent research projects undertaken by Lincoln University postgraduate students, and which relate to this project.