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Agencies join forces to restore Kahuterawa Stream


Monday, 27 May 2013

Agencies join forces to restore Kahuterawa Stream

Collaboration will be key to restoring and enhancing the lower Kahuterawa Stream, with project partners Horizons Regional Council, Massey University and the New Zealand Defence Force set to sign an 11-year restoration plan this week.

The four kilometre stream marks the boundaries of Massey University and Linton Army Camp. It has been identified as a significant area for water quality and biodiversity as it meanders through the Kahuterawa Valley before flowing into the Manawatu River.

Horizons environmental management officer Neil Mickleson says the area has been overrun by weeds and pests over the past few years, but actions set out in the 11-year plan will see it transformed into a haven for native plants, birds and fish.

“The Manawatu Plains are some of the most fertile in the Region but just 5 per cent of the original biodiversity remains.

“The lower Kahuterawa Stream has been identified as a site of significance for rare and threatened native fish including the banded kokopu, giant kokopu, short jaw kokopu, koaro and red finned bully and this project has received funding under the Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord to restore native fish habitat. The surrounding area is also home to a nationally endangered carnivorous land snail and numerous native bird species.

“It’s so important that we work together to maintain and enhance places like the Kahuterawa Stream and the first two years of this project will involve a concentrated drive to eradicate all weeds and carry out pest animal control,” he says.

Massey University Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Operations) and University Registrar Stuart Morriss says the University is very supportive of this project and its contribution to protecting and enhancing the lower Kahuterawa Stream environment.

“Not only will this restoration project help rejuvenate the stream environment, but it will also provide a living laboratory for Massey researchers and students to study freshwater ecology and fluvial geomorphology in their own back yard,” he says.

“It provides staff from our Innovative River Solutions group with a real world project that will enhance teaching programmes and contribute vital data to the initiative. It also provides excellent opportunities for research on the interactions between production agriculture and this freshwater aquatic ecosystem with the project running alongside one of the University's farms."

Mr Mickleson says boundary fences will be maintained to ensure they’re stock proof and in January next year work will get underway on a programme to plant 40,000 native plants in the area over the project’s duration.

“Funding from the Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord has enabled us to extend our work beyond the stream banks and into the stream itself where we will remove any barriers to fish migration. Native plants will also provide shade for fish while stabilising the water course and drawing native birds back into the area,” he says.


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