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Communities doing their bit for clean rivers

Hon Nicky Wagner
Associate Minister of Conservation

27 September 2015

Communities doing their bit for clean rivers

World Rivers Day provides an opportunity to highlight the value of rivers and acknowledge the impact that community groups can have on river conservation, says Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner.

“World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world’s waterways, but it is also a chance to connect with rivers at a local level and celebrate the work of local communities in conserving their rivers,” Ms Wagner says.

“Across the country the Department of Conservation manages upper river catchments in conservation land, but it is at a community level that the best work can be done to maintain the health of New Zealand rivers.

“DOC is also helping develop a geospatial database to identify threats for river catchments, carrying out research into flow requirements for threatened river species and providing workshops on how to manage river habitats. This work goes hand in hand with local efforts to conserve rivers.

“Recently I announced a Community Conservation Partnership Fund (CCPF) grant of $126,000 to bring whitebait back to Christchurch. Just as the people of Christchurch rebuild their homes, we have a chance to enhance the habitat for our natural neighbours.

“Further south in South Canterbury’s braided river beds, $33,000 of CCPF funding has gone to the Braided River Partnership project to improve the success of colony-nesting birds.

“The successful cleaning and rehabilitation of the Ōtākaro/Avon River is another success story. Following the earthquakes, more than 10,000 tonnes of liquefaction was removed from the river.

“Crews cleaned 15,000 square metres of gravel beds, rescued more than 1,500 fish and planted almost 10,000 trees along a 2.9km stretch of the river. The river is now much healthier and will bring people back to Christchurch.

“Local, community-led projects like these serve as inspiration for river restoration and conservation across New Zealand,” Ms Wagner says.

ENDS

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