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Oxford Wetland To Be Protected

The Waimakariri Water Zone Committee is supporting biodiversity funding of $23,600 to restore approximately two hectares of remnant podocarp forest, wetland and a stream located near Oxford.

A section of remnant podocorp forest which will be restored during the project

Environment Canterbury and the QEII Trust are working together with the landowner to assist with land retirement, fencing, weed control and planting to enhance this important ecological habitat.

The landowner will also contribute to funding the project, which has a total cost of $35,400.

The project aims to protect several types of flora including two species of pygmy mistletoe (Korthalsella clavata and Korthalsella lindsayi), along with two critically endangered species of evergreen myrtle/ rōhutu (Lophomyrtus obcordate) and (Neomyrtus pedunculata). Myrtle/ rōhutu bark and berries have anti-inflammatory antioxidant properties and are used in traditional Maori medicines/ rongoā. The bush also contains manuka (Korthalsella clavate) which is classified as a species in decline across New Zealand.

A pygmy mistletoe (Korthalsella lindsayi) growing on weeping matipo (Myrsine divaricate) in the forest block.

The regenerated forest block will provide an ideal environment for native birds, while fencing to remove stock access to the stream will provide a suitable habitat for the vulnerable Canterbury mudfish/kowaro which prefer swampy lowland habitats such as wetlands and swamp forests.

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Environment Canterbury Biodiversity Officer Zipporah Ploeg says the project has a high ecological score and will allow the landowners to continue their positive work to improve the environment and waterways.

“One of the areas of bushland was retired from farming and turned into a QEII covenant several decades ago and the funding will enable further protection works to enhance existing biodiversity values,” she said.

Waimakariri Water Zone Committee Chair Michael Blackwell said the restoration project ties in well with the growing understanding of the importance of protecting biodiversity in the local community.

“Wetlands and native forests are the organs of our land and deserve to be protected and enhanced so that we can improve the overall health of our waterways,” he said.

“Being able to help landowners to carry out further environmental initiatives to improve biodiversity is a vital part of the Zone Committee’s work.”

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