To halt the decline in braided river bird species by helping those whose interests and activities involve braided rivers, to assist in their protection.
Globally, there is an increasing demand for sustainable and environmentally friendly products. Businesses that can meet this demand have a competitive market edge. Hence, gaining accreditation for environmental stewardship is simply good business. The Braided River Partnerships Project , which ran from 2016-2021, was to work with commercial and recreational river users who, through their normal daily operations, could help reverse habitat decline through a wide range of strategies.
While this progrmme has now ended, we can still assist by offering technical expertise and material support.
Tourism operators can benefit by introducing value-added components (see three of our partners, Amuri Jet and Wilkin Jets. Aligning with the ‘100% Pure’ marketing brand, we can provide marketing materials and strategies to promote the unique nature of New Zealand braided rivers, the birds and their cultural significance as taonga species, what your business is doing to help these rare and endangered species, and how your clients might also help. Involving customers in your conservation efforts, even at a very basic level such as counting birds, has proven to be a very effective marketing strategy in other countries.
Farms, irrigation companies, gravel extractors can enhance braided river bird habitats through a slight change in operations, often at little or no short-term economic cost to your business. See Waikuku Beach Farm or Cresslands Contracting to see some of our partner’s stories explaining how they support local river care groups.
Clarence River Rafting involved their guests in bird counts on the 5-day rafting trips down the Clarence River
Members of Jetboating NZ assisted with research and monitoring black-fronted tern colonies and predators on 15 islands in the lower Waitaki River.
Christchurch International Airport is working to control highly predatory black-blacked gulls and sponsors helicopter bird surveys on the lower Waimakariri River.
Other businesses (see Karikaas for example) can assist by raising awareness of the birds and/or donating funds to support local river care groups.
Meet some of our partners
- Cresslands Contracting for donating time and engineering expertise to designing, making, and testing a tractor-mounted ‘ripper’ to clear weeds on bird breeding sites. Some of these weeds were the size of bushes meaning they were incredibly difficult to remove by hand, too large to be dislodged by floods, and unable to be sprayed given their location.
- Karikaas Dairy package their gold and silver medal award-winning cheeses in beautiful ‘braided river bird’ boxes. Six different kinds of cheese feature information and images of different braided river birds. A collectable fridge magnet is included in each box, and a percentage of sales is donated to the Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group to help protect the birds along the river
- Makarora School for their ongoing activities in raising awareness of braided river birds and their habitat along the Makarora River. The students have created public interpretation displays including The Flock, and presented to parents. This is a small community and actions like these play a huge role in changing perceptions of braided river bird habitats.
- Southern Alps Air has played a vital role in raising awareness of braided river birds and other threatened species within the Makarora catchment. They’ve also assisted with and facilitated threatened species monitoring and predator control operations. This is particularly important in remote and difficult to access high country areas.
- Wilkin Jets, Bronze Accredited partner with Aspiring Biodiversity Trust which traps along the Makarora River bordering Mt Aspiring National Park
- Amuri Jet, Bronze Accredited partner check traps around a colony of black-fronted terns nesting on the Waiau River, where they take their clients, and actively assists with annual river bird surveys through their jetboat business. They have also started a Wilderness Safari that includes taking clients to see black-billed gull and black-fronted tern colonies (when present).
- Craigmore Station, Bronze Accredited partner protecting a colony of critically endangered black-billed gulls
- Taggarts, Silver Accredited partner, for several years working with the Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group to clear weeds and create habitats
- Waikuku dairy farm, Bronze Accredited partner played host to a very successful breeding colony of the world’s most endangered gull
- Trustpower (now Manawa Energy) Bronze Accredited partner clearing weeds on the Harper River delta (photos below), trapping, and installing signs to educate the public about the presence of rare and endangered river birds
Simple ways you can help
One of the biggest problem facing braided river birds as that there simply aren’t enough eyes on the ground to locate colony nesting sites on braided river beds during the breeding season (August-February). If we know where the birds are, we can develop strategies to help protect them.
This is where you come in.
Jet-boaters, canoeists, rafters, hunters, trampers, walkers, campers, gravel extractors, landowners, all use braided rivers. Our goal is to create a network of observers across the South Island and where possible, gain access to nesting colony birds in hard to reach places. How you can help will depend on your individual or organisational resources.
This Project was developed with assistance from DOC’s Braided River Technical Group and ECan biodiversity (in Canterbury) in conjunction with each partner (business, organisation, or individual) to suit their operations and level of involvement. Available on a case-by-case basis as needed, these include tools and resources for:
- Habitat improvement (weed control, island creation) in and around breeding sites (video showing Fulton Hogan’s work clearing weeds from islands)
- Predator trapping (plans, training)
- Minimising human disturbance through signage and controlling access
- Monitoring results
- Raising broader community awareness and buy-in through educational and promotional materials, social media marketing
If you are interested in becoming involved please contact email@example.com.