It almost feels inappropriate to be writing this newsletter. But then, perhaps our greatest defence against those who would turn our world inside out is to refuse to let them stop us from continuing to protect and share our little patch of beauty. So, herein is our latest newsletter:
Braided Rivers Seminar 2019
Only a few places are still available for the full-dayBraided Rivers Seminar at Lincoln University Wednesday 26 June (the programme is available here). The lecture theatre doesn’t really have standing room, so if you are thinking of coming, do book soon.
High Court decision defining a ‘river bed’
The recent High Court decision has alarming implications for the management of braided rivers. This is a critical juncture on the time for the future of our braided rivers. Left unchallenged, the decision constrain’s ECan’s ability to limit the continued agricultural development of braided rivers. This is not an exaggeration. To quote ECan:
“In late December 2018, the High Court released its decision on the definition of “river bed” in Dewhirst Land Company vs Canterbury Regional Council. The decision means that in braided rivers the bed is narrower than Environment Canterbury had previously applied.
“Environment Canterbury believes the High Court decision does not reflect the dynamic nature of braided rivers and is concerned that it will, given the current Regional rules, not provide enough protection of braided river values and allow further encroachment.” (Emphasis mine)
Over the next few weeks, further BRIDGE Project meetings led by ECan will be taking place. BRaid’s responses to the BRIDGE project meetings to date. I strongly urge you to attend these upcoming meetings because it is no exaggeration to state that the future of braided rivers and their rapidly diminishing ecosystems is at stake.
Meeting times and places:
- Waihao River – Wednesday 20 March, 4.00pm at Waihao Forks Hotel
- Ahuriri River – Friday 22 March, 4.15pm at Omarama Community Centre
- Hakatere/Ashburton River – Tuesday 26 March, 3.30pm at Council Chambers, Ashburton District Council
- Waiau Uwha River – Friday 29 March, 2 pm at Spotswood Hall
Black-Backed Gull Management
Last Friday, ECan published an FAQ on the control of Southern Black-Backed Gulls this past season. BRaid supports this work for reasons outlined in the FAQ. Please take a moment to read this, as it fully explains the rationale and strategy (and will save me answering lots of questions and correcting misinformation!).
ARRG Documentary Film Premiere
The award-winning efforts of the dedicated volunteers working to save the unique endangered birds of the Ashley-Rakahuri River are celebrated in a short film premiered this coming Thursday 6 pm at the Rangiora Town Hall Cinema. Tickets to see the film are FREE. A casual BYO social function will be held afterwards at the Department of Conservation, River Road Rangiora.
2019: Year of the Wrybill
Officially launched at Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre 11 March, Amanda Hunt was inspired by the story we reported in the last newsletter, about the feisty little wrybill named C96254:
Four inches high, she stands
ferocious on the river bed
gravel at her feet
squeaks of a tiny chick behind
her mate, flying ace, hurls himself
once more towards the enemy
drawing fire from a
giant circling Hercules:
mentioned in dispatches
“defending the territory vigorously
from black-backed gulls” :
gutsy; fearless; definitely a keeper.
Survivor of the twenty-eighteen flood
somehow getting her chick away
from a thousand cumec onslaught
Mother of the Year.
They come here every year.
It’s where all the kids were born.
Be quiet, she hisses.
Go to the bunker.
She closes on the undefended flank
letting loose the air raid warning.
Wing Commander C96254:
do not mess with this woman.
BRaid’s next meeting
The next BRaid meeting will be at 3.00pm, 24 May at the DOC offices Nga Mai Road, Sockburn. You do not have to be a member to attend and we would love to see you there.
Sonny Whitelaw Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
- The final (successful) chapter in the black-billed gull colony that started the season on the Waimakariri River and ended up on the Ashley River.
- Planting manuka to clean up waterways (Stuff.co.nz)
- Groundwater Management Plans: how well do they work? A lesson from across the ditch (Nature.com)
- A cautionary tale for researchers aiming to take charge of the evolutionary arms race by introducing biocontrol agents: (Science.org)
- …and the latest look at the numbers of this pest species in the Te Manahuna Aoraki project area.