Port Hills recovery support

by Kent Caddick

The Port Hills Recovery project has received a financial boost from the Christchurch West Melton water zone committee.

An estimated 1645 hectares of land was ravaged by the devastating Port Hills fires in February.

The Christchurch West Melton water zone committee has approved a $100,000 contribution to the fire recovery partnership project to assist with increasing indigenous biodiversity and to help with sediment control. 

The water zone committee is a joint committee of Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council and Environment Canterbury.

Committee chair Arapata Reuben said as a zone committee it was their priority to protect and enhance local waterways.

“So the loss of significant vegetation on the Port Hills was a concern for us,” Mr Reuben said. “This [the fire] had the flow on effect of making the Port Hills soils vulnerable to major erosion, meaning that during rainfall we are now at even greater risk of the soil washing down the hills and being carried into our streams and rivers.

“This increases the sediment in our waterways and impacts on stream biodiversity.”

The committee’s $100,000 contribution to the project will help fund recovery including the erection of deer-proof fencing and the planting of totara under the fire damaged exotic forest.

“This will not only assist with erosion and sediment control but also contribute to the biodiversity bush patches across Canterbury that support species migration,” Mr Reuben said.