Our final meeting for the year will be Friday 06 December at the DOC office, 31 Nga Mahi Road, Sockburn, Christchurch. As always, everyone is welcome to attend even if you are not a member.
This will also be our last newsletter of the year, but please do keep me updated with news and information, as I will be here over the Christmas and New Year period and will be keeping Facebook updated.
Environmental Accreditation awards
As promised in the last newsletter, we would like to congratulate two more recipients of bronze level Environmental Accreditation awards for 2019:
Makarora School has been actively 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. Well done everyone (including the parents, teachers, and Aspiring Biodiversity Trust working hard in the background to support the students!)
Congratulations also to Southern Alps Air based in Wanaka, who have been actively raising awareness of braided river birds and other threatened species in the Makarora River catchment. They’ve played an important role in facilitating ongoing threatened species monitoring and predator control operations in the catchment. This kind of partnership between businesses and conservation groups in especially hard to access high-country areas is invaluable.
Call for presentations for the BRaided River Seminar, 08 July 2020
Pencil this in your calendar! Once again we will be running the seminar at Lincoln University, thanks to the offer of sponsorship from LINZ (and thanks to Pete from Boffa Miskell for helping to facilitate this). I have not yet set up a webpage or booking process as we are currently considering a slightly different format that includes individual presentations plus panels, which will allow a more open forum for discussion. One of the core issues we’d like to focus on next year is weeds. This is not the exclusive topic. Rather, if you would like to present we’d like to see how creatively you work weeds into your topic. For example, what you/your group is doing to control them, changes you’re seeing in their extent, range, and composition, solutions (including biological controls), how weeds are affecting or changing invertebrate populations, influencing your decisions to locate traps, forcing birds to nest in unusual locations, changing the hydrology of rivers and so on. If you would like to present on another topic entirely, please do contact me so we can start to put together a varied programme. As per the last few years, we will not have time for everyone to present, however there will also be opportunities to speak to poster presentations during the breaks and at lunchtime. If you know final year undergrad or postgrad students who would like to present, please have them contact me as want to encourage and support the next generation of ecologists.
Please contact organisers (not me) for details of future surveys, as times and dates have been changing due to high river levels, and/or check our Facebook ‘Events’ page.
Rakaia River: 10-12 or 16-18 December. Please contact Marcia Kimber at DOC for more information.
Wilberforce River: Thanks to help from Brian at Trustpower, Nick and Jim Jolly did a recce up the Wilberforce a few weeks ago. They realised a bird survey was not going to be possible given the scale of the area and flow of the river, so instead, they ran a free field day. I’ll add Nick’s report to the website and also Facebook it, once I figure out why my Outlook ate it…
Makarora River Aspiring Biodiversity Trust recently completed a 2-day survey along the river and reported seeing a large nesting colony of black-billed gulls and good numbers of black-fronted tern nesting. Banded dotterel and SIPO nests were also seen, and wrybill had started nesting. When the full report is available I’ll also post it in a newsletter and online.
Bird of the Year Campaign
In spite of a robust campaign run by Miranda Shorebird Trust and a photo of Environment Canterbury chairwoman Jenny Hughey, Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel, and Canterbury medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey with a larger than life wrybill, sadly, wrybills didn’t make it into the top five of the Bird of the Year competition. However, the banded dotterel did. That’s great news because it helps raise the profile of these amazing little birds, especially given the sad news coming out of Kaikoura these past few weeks with the catastrophic loss of adult 15 out of 18 dotterel chicks plus some breeding parents due to a domestic, not feral cat(s). The only positive news is that as of 3 days ago, three chicks are close to fledging (photos).
From all of us at BRaid, if we don’t see you at the meeting, have a safe and happy Christmas and fantastic New Year.
Sonny Whitelaw firstname.lastname@example.org
- One of the reasons why Alistair Humphrey put his support behind the wrybill for the Bird of the Year campaign, was to draw attention to the link between healthy waterways and public health. Statistics NZ reveals that four out of five New Zealanders are concerned about freshwater quality
- A five-year research programme has been launched to provide greater information on how much water is lost on braided rivers into groundwater.
- …and just in case there was any doubt about the importance of groundwater recharging, this is from a report published last month in Nature: Environmental flow limits to global groundwater pumping: “We estimate that, by 2050, environmental flow limits will be reached for approximately 42 to 79 per cent of the watersheds in which there is groundwater pumping worldwide.”
- ECan has lost the crucial appeal over defining the width of a braided river, based largely on the RMA (ie, old English law) definition of a river. For more information on the implications please see our website on ‘defining a braidplain‘ (in hydrological and ecological terms, not legal terms). The RMA is currently being reviewed.
- From the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment: ‘Focusing Aotearoa New Zealand’s environmental reporting system‘ a not so good report card on how we are reporting.
- You can read the expert reaction to the report here.
- Steve Attwood took these photos of a pair of SIPO trying to find a place to nest at Tekapo: Lupins, lupins everywhere and not a decent nesting area in sight
- And also seeking a safe place to nest, a colony of black-billed gulls has nested in a derelict building in Christchurch’s city centre
Whose science is privileged in the protection of our rivers? The inclusion of Māori perspectives in this research is critical to understanding how decision making about fresh water might be improved.
- Cawthron Institute Awards: The River Story Award for the most interesting and compelling story of an individual or community working to improve the health of a river, or rivers generally went to Tasman River in South Canterbury. Watch this great 5 minutes video here. Well done everyone!
- Ken Hughey, Acting Chair, Hurunui Waiau Water Zone Committee, reflects on how far the committee has come with water management in the zone and how it is approaching future challenges.
- And from us, a special thanks to the previous chairman, John Faulkner, for his enormous patience and leadership these past few years, in what can only be described as a challenging role. We wish John the best in his work as he pursues the commitment of making his two properties, one beside the Waiau Uwha River and another with a stream running through it, mahinga kai access sites.