Several of you have been trying to book to attend the Braided Rivers Seminar 2019 and have discovered that it’s been booked out and waitlisted. This happens every year, and unfortunately, there can be no ‘standing room only’ this year due to the Health and Safety (including security) requirements of the venue. To that end, closer to the date, I will be contacting everyone who has booked to attend and asking them to confirm their name so that we can issue nametags. Only those with nametags will be able to enter, so please do respond or it will be assumed you are not coming and your place given to someone else. If you know now or at anytime in the next few weeks that you are unable to attend PLEASE let me know as we have 15 people waitlisted. If you are a no-show, that means someone else will have missed out. I apologise for this stringent requirement, but I’m afraid we now live in a very different world.
The BRIDGE project & High Court decision defining a ‘river bed’
Unfortunately, as many of you will be aware, some newspapers have reported remarkably one-sided information regarding ECan’s public meetings to define braided rivers. The devil is in the detail, of course, and there is no room in this newsletter to tease apart and examine the complex issues, but I have commented on those specific to the Bridge Project here In Defense of Braided Rivers as Public Goods, concluding, ‘…accusing ECan of attempting a ‘land grab’ because they’re endeavouring to protect our public goods, is an Orwellian inversion of reality, one where doublespeak is used to defend the destruction of what’s left of globally rare braided river ecosystems for the short-term corporate and/or personal profit of a few.’ The latest reports (links below) on biodiversity loss only serve to underscore the situation.
To Dam or not to Dam
One of the arguments against dams as a source of ‘renewable’ energy, has been the quantity of methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, that dams produce over their lifetime (due to dam-waters drowning plant matter that then decays). There are many pro/con dam arguments. Under a changing climate regime, for example, the pro-dam argument is that it provides a more reliable source of water (via storage) and reduces the risk of flooding (via controlled release). Here in NZ, dams that ‘control’ braided rivers, by definition change their naturally dynamic hydrology. A recent open-access paper in Nature comes up with an entirely novel pro-dam argument: dams are good because by controlling waterways, they destroy methane-emitting (think ‘swamp gas’) wetlands, and they prevent widespread floods that in turn lead to further methane emissions from vegetation destroyed by floodwaters. The arguments are almost as compelling as they are insidious (much like the ‘more CO2 means faster plant growth’ specious argument from fossil-fuel lobbyists). See here if you’d like to know more (includes the links to the research papers).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Waimakariri River Regional Park Braided River Bird Management 2018-2019 (ECan)…worth reading in conjunction with…
- Ashley Estuary trapping report March 2019 (ARRG)
- New Zealand’s Sixth National Report to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity 2014-2018 (DOC)
- 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (first intergovernmental global assessment of Biodiversity: IPBES)
- Environment Aotearoa 2019 (MfE) see also
- Farmer-led group lobbying for changes to Waimakariri water plan (Stuff) …also worth reading in light of the ‘dismal figure’ showing nitrates in our waterways are very likely getting worse(Source: GNS from the Aotearoa 2019 report above; yes, it’s because there’s a time lag before surface pollutants reach groundwater, but now we know that there are definitely no excuses for delaying action)
- Working out where predators have come from provides vital clues in the war against them (Predator Free NZ)
- From 18th -26th May, record the call or song from one bird and upload it: Snapshot of Sound—let’s hear the world(‘s birds) sing! (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
- Call for the closure of Golden Bay freedom camping to protect nesting banded dotterels (Stuff)
- Black-backed gulls in Canterbury rivers to be poisoned over the next three years (Stuff)
- Sixty-three pāteke released into the Arthur Valley near Milford Sound (reposted from Kiwi Birdlife Park via Facebook)
- and twelve whio were released back to rivers on the West Coast (reposted from Isaac Conservation Trust via Facebook)
- The ‘Flock’ lives! See this fabulous school project to celebrate shorebirds (Miranda Shorebird Trust)
- Robust grasshoppers: does predator control help them as well? (Predator Free NZ)
- Tweeting while flying kills migratory birds: (Science magazine)
- How do seabirds perceive light? (very relevant to species such as Huttons Shearwater) ( Pacific Seabird Group 15 min. video)
- Thousands of predator traps installed in the Mackenzie Basin (Timaru Herald)
- DOC to launch huge predator control programme in response to ‘mega mast’ (Stuff)
- Mudfish thriving in their new home (Coopers Creek Wetland Restoration Project)
- Fear as shooters turn Canterbury riverbed (the Okuku River) ‘into a war zone’ (Stuff)
- Live in the Wanaka/Dunedin area? Speights is contributing $120,000 to support the ‘Million Metres’ tree planting scheme (Upper Clutha Trust)
- New higher flow limits on Tukituki River will remain in place (Stuff)
- Protection order on Christchurch aquifers could limit drinking water supply (Stuff) (…commonly known as The law of unintended consequences)