The 2021 Braided Rivers seminar will be held at Lincoln University Wednesday 14 July. The programme is currently being planned so the booking page looks a bit thin at the moment, but I encourage you to book early as, aside from Covid, these FREE events have historically been booked out and waitlisted. You can always cancel, and we always require you to confirm your attendance a week or so before the event.
In other news, I’m delighted to announce that ECan has just approved funding for the Climate and Nature project. The goal is to create an open network so that everyone can easily access the knowledge and material resources needed to become climate-resilient. Not by buying electric cars, building dams and seawalls, and paying higher rates so our water is (more or less) drinkable, but by re-instating natural ecosystem services. The first few of what will be hundreds of projects demonstrating who is doing what, where, and how is now online thanks to seed funding from the Rata Foundation. We need YOUR help to expand this resource, so please let me know what biodiversity restoration projects you are involved with, even if you’re not sure how this helps.
It’s great to see the landscape-scale multi-agency protection project has been approved for the Rangitata River. The ‘jobs for nature’ project will include fencing 110 kilometres of riverbed and wetlands, planting 116,000 native plants on riparian margins, trapping sediment, and protecting braided river birds: wrybill, black-billed gull, black stilt/kaki, and black-fronted tern.
The BRaid website is continuously being updated with information and reports, not all of which are listed here as this newsletter is already long. If you’re looking for something and don’t have time to browse, don’t forget you can use the internal search engine at the top and also bottom of each page, plus the sidebar in the main News pages.
Sonny Whitelaw firstname.lastname@example.org
- The 2020 season bird survey results from the Ashburton Hakatere River are now online. Scroll down to the ‘bird counts’ section
Submit to the Climate Commission before March 28. Dozens of businesses and industries with a vested interest in maintaining business as usual and/or promoting ecosystem-destroying activities such bulldozing naturally regenerating forests that don’t attract carbon credits to plant monoculture forestry which does, and expanding agriculture into rapidly dwindling braidplain ecosystems, are submitting. The same lack of economic incenctives applies to restoring wetlands, yet dried peatlands are responsible for up to 6% of agricultural emissions in New Zealand. Meanwhile, the world is on target to exceed 3°C but our post-Covid stimulus package committed $1.14 billion dollars to policies that support the fossil fuel economy. As Prof. Simon Lewis points out, creative carbon accounting is a recipe for disaster and Nature doesn’t do bailouts.
- Expressions of interest are now open for the $30 million Te Mana o Te Wai fund.
- Growing support for valuing ecosystems will help conserve the planet (Nature editorial – open access)
- Wetlands must be better protected if NZ wants to hit climate goals, experts warn (One News)
- Multiple methods demonstrate wetland restoration benefits (Predator Free NZ)
- How to restore a wetland; the kidneys of our waterways
- One in three rivers in Marlborough are polluted with faecal matter (NZ Geographic)
- Concern as Canterbury fish crisis mirrored on other side of the world (Stuff)
- Hundreds of fish found dead in Dunedin estuary (NZ Herald)
- Revealed: the companies dumping contaminants down the drain. How many have been slapped with fines? None. A legal loophole means councils have no power to issue them, so are instead forced to take an “educative” approach (Radio NZ)
- Awe-inspiring waterfalls and vital rivers reduced to open sewers (Stuff)
- Why water reforms need to go further (Stuff)
- Canterbury’s proposed rates hike – a move in the right direction, or anti-farmer? What Nicky Snoyink said… “We can’t afford to not protect the environment, but we need to see an end to the system that lets polluters and lawbreakers get off scot-free, and the rest of us pick up their tab.”
- Silver Fern farms are continuing to sell animal pelts to Tasman Tanning, which clocked up 570 breaches over the past year dumping and has now taken on a bigger contract, ensuring even more chemical waste is dumped into waterways (NZ Geographic)
- Using ‘Linda’ the scarecrow to scare off harriers raiding the black-billed gull colony trying to nest on the Ashley Rakahuri River.
- Unfortunately the story of ‘Linda’ was trumped when 4×4 drivers harassed and killing birds in the nesting colony. As much as I hate using social media to draw attention to the problem, it rapidly shifted from just-another-incident to newsworthy once our Facebook post reached 250,000 people. Read the full report here.
- The humble red-billed gull, while not a braided river bird species, are also in sharp decline globally, and yet still subject to the same fate from a quad bike hooning around the Royal Albatross Centre carpark on the Otago Peninsular. (NZ Herald)
- However, black-backed gull numbers are not declining, resulting in them needing to be culled on the Lower Waitaki to protect black-fronted tern and wrybill colonies (Oamaru Mail)
- Positive productivity rate for Coromandel’s dotterels (DOC)
- Unlike the banded dotterels of South Bay, which, in spite of monumental efforts, are still falling prey to the Council’s refusal to act on cats. The local flock built 46 nests in the area this summer, but nearly all were wiped out.
- How to stop your cat from killing so much wildlife (CNN)
- Reporting Rare and Unusual Species NZ Bird Atlas
- Minister scolded Conservation boss over Mackenzie shambles (Newsroom)
- Odour ‘misinformation’ fools feral cats, ferrets and hedgehogs into ignoring nesting shorebirds (Science Advances 7 | 11, eabe4164
- Grant Norbury also presented on the topic at the 2017 Braided Rivers Seminar, and there’s a great article here about their challenges finding enough smelly braided river birds and their poo.
- Help needed to identify the impacts of marine sedimentation on on seabirds and shorebirds
- The eBird Science team released new visualizations of avian movements for 807 species including 179 species outside the US & Canada
- A bird’s migration decoded (Nature 591, pp203-204)
- Climate-driven flyway changes and memory-based long-distance migration (Nature 591, pp259–264)
- Birds use massive magnetic maps to migrate – and some could cover the whole world (The Conversation)
- Prompted by the urgency of the situation, 111 aquatic-science societies — representing more than 80,000 scientists from 7 continents — have issued a statement of alarm (Nature – open access)
- Te Manahuna Aoraki and the University of Otago have been researching small mammalian predators, where they live and at what altitude (video)
- New 1080 study busts ‘silent forest’ myth: Bioacoustic monitoring of lower North Island bird communities before and after aerial application of 1080 (NZ Journal of Ecology)