Funding is helping threatened and endangered species bird management in braided rivers

Enhancing biodiversity initiatives

by Ann van Engelen

A fruitful year of funding important local biodiversity projects in 2018–19 saw the Hurunui Waiau Water Zone Committee allocate nearly $130,000 to seven projects.

There are 10 zone committees based throughout Canterbury, all of which are granted $105,000 each year through the Immediate Steps funding programme.

“We have made good progress on our flagship projects to provide funding for clearance and building of nesting sites for threatened bird species on our rivers,” said zone committee acting chair Ken Hughey.

“We have had major investment in threatened and endangered species bird management in braided rivers: 2,000 black-backed gulls were culled, predator control work was advanced and weed-free islands destroyed by floods were re-established.”

The committee picked three ideas to become flagship projects in 2017 — all are five-year projects relating to the Hurunui and Waiau braided rivers.

“These projects totalled nearly 75 per cent of the overall budget (about $92,000) and involved clearance of weeds on braided river islands, surveying and monitoring native bird populations and controlling the black-backed gull. One of the most abundant and invasive gulls in the country, the black-backed gull predates endangered bird species.

“It was causing E coli problems for both the Hurunui and Waiau rivers, meaning the water quality in both was adversely affected.”