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Burgess Stream restoration project kicks off

Burgess Stream restoration project kicks off

Burgess Stream Restoration Project Kicks Off

Tailoring a plan together with the landowner to specifically enhance the ecosystem qualities of the site, but in a way that still integrated with the surrounding farm system, was key to obtaining the buy-in of multiple stakeholders – enabling us to secure funding support and ultimately establish it successfully.

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https://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/thousands-of-native-plants-improve-burgess-stream/LOJFAFVH5CAS5WHJP72EW5V33M/

Efficient Farm Environment Design

Efficient Farm Environment Design

In early 2019 we were engaged to develop a site specific master plan for extensive native planting on a 280 Hectare dairy farm in mid Canterbury. The key issues for the project were increasing biodiversity, reducing the impact of the farm on the surrounding environment and mitigating sediment runoff into waterways whilst not retiring unrealistic amounts of productive land or inhibiting day-to-day farm operations, such as the movement of pivot irrigators. During an initial consultation with the clients they stated that they anticipated double-fencing and planting every fence on the property with native species – an expensive strategy with limited environmental outcomes other than enhancing the look of the property.

Through a series of site visits, walkabouts, further consultation with the landowners and aerial surveys to gather spatial data for further analysis, DCLA identified the key natural features on the property, and put forward an enhancement proposal that would not only yield greater environmental outcomes but save around 3 hectares of productive pasture from retirement. Part of the success of this process was encouraging the landowners to come up with a short statement of the vision they had for the natural environment on their farm, and incorporate this into the thinking behind the strategy. The plan produced was then able to be tendered with multiple suppliers to ensure the best rates for plant supply and labour, and also presented to funding providers to seek support in covering the costs of supply and planting.

Conservation and Biocontrol

Conservation and Biocontrol

Canterbury mudfish are one of the most critically endangered freshwater species in New Zealand. An opportunity arose in 2019 to work with Landowners, and other stakeholder agencies to develop an indigenous planting strategy for a 7 Hectare site known to have a remnant population of Canterbury Mudfish on a mid-Canterbury arable farm. Coincidentally, this was also a certified organic farm meaning not only were there unique requirements for the mudfish population, but also careful consideration would be needed for establishing native plant communities that did not have a negative impact on the farms cropping operation.
Species sampling was undertaken which yielded 5 Mudfish from 20 traps. Each site where fish were caught was then recorded and its characteristics noted. Further, a separate case study was also conducted of an arable farm on the coastal Canterbury Plains that had demonstrated by planting native plant species around a 0.4 hectare crop margin, it was possible to virtually eradicate noxious aphids from an adjacent 70 hectare wheat crop.
Learnings from each of these exercises enabled a detailed site analysis which then lead to the design of specific plant communities that would not only serve the needs of the Mudish population, but also help to colonize beneficial insects known to combat crop pests. Once complete, the plan also enabled the landowner to successfully attract funding support from a local trust to help with costs of purchasing plants, and providing volunteer labour.

 

 

Biodiversity Stocktake

Biodiversity Stocktake

The Waimakariri Irrigation Scheme covers approximately 24,000 Hectares, and supplies around 200 farmer-shareholders. In 2018, we were engaged to help the irrigation company establish a vision and a pathway towards protecting and enhancing indigenous biodiversity across the scheme by conducting a “stocktake” of existing sites of biodiversity interest or potential within the schemes’ area. The aim of this was to establish, first and foremost, what existing ecological habitat still remained and, if so, where this was so that decisions could be made about where to focus efforts first.
Using the Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan to establish where the natural waterways were located within the farming landscape, we undertook a process of “interrogation” of each waterway by examining the entire length of each corridor using aerial imagery. This enabled us to plot sites of interest and allocate a reference code as well as an arbitrary value to each, with 1 being of little or no existing value but with the potential for restoration, and 5 being of high natural value.

With an area of 24,000 hectares to examine in less than 2 months, one of the biggest challenges was representing the key information in an easily digestible format for the clients, whilst at the same time making sure it would be easy to revisit for future detailed study. By layering a multitude of information in a digital map platform, we were able to produce a series of maps that showed “clusters” of sites of interest, but most importantly for the client how many of these were on shareholder land and therefore able to be accessed easily. In order to ensure easy future referencing and sharing of information, each site was recorded with a GPS location

The Biodiversity Stocktake has formed the basis of further studies for the same client since this time, which is currently enabling discussions with funding providers for possible investment and funding support for restoration on selected farms across this area.