Top Image: From 1990-2019, 6,847 ha of undeveloped or ‘semi-improved’ pastoral farmland was converted to high-producing pasture and fodder crops. This includes 135 ha of riverbeds and 51 ha of waterbodies, wetlands, and littoral zones, and almost 2,000 ha of glacial outwash plains. See the link to Philip Grove’s report below.
Subject to being in Level 1 (i.e., out of Level 2 lockdown), our next meeting will be Friday 15 October, 2021. There will be committee meeting at 1.00pm, our AGM at 2.00pm, followed by a General Meeting at 2.30pm. All members will be sent the agendas for both the AGM and GM a week or so before the meetings.
All full members are entitled to nominate office bearers (including themselves) and to vote at the AGM elections.
The minutes of all previous meetings are available on the members’ page, as too are reports and audited accounts. As funding for the 6-year Partnership Programme is now coming to an end, where to from here will be a topic for discussion.
I know everyone is busy with their respective projects, but I would urge you all to take the time to submit to the Government’s proposed changes to wetland protection. Wetlands associated with braided rivers are the critical kidneys and life support services of these ecosystems.
As both Duncan Gray (Fig. 2) and Adrian Meredith pointed out in their presentations at the last braided river seminar, the wet areas outside the main active channels of braided rivers are where most of the fish and invertebrates live, and provide crucial refuges during floods. Braided river birds depend on these rich complex ecosystems for food. These areas also dampen the impact of floods, of which we are going to see more.
This article features a great video on Ōkārito Lagoon, including the black-billed gulls and banded dotterels that call it home (I’m pretty sure I saw some black-fronted terns about 46 seconds into it), asking the question: how secure is its future under the proposed changes to wetlands regulations?
Under the proposed Government walk-back of environmental rules, mines, landfills, and housing developments could be built in or around wetlands. No, that’s not a typo. This is the wording on MfE’s website:
“We are seeking feedback on the following proposals….
Including Resource Management Act consenting pathways for the following activities to be undertaken in and around natural wetlands:
- quarrying; landfills;
- cleanfills and managed fills;
- mineral mining;
- urban development.
This is the ecological equivalent of the red market organ trade. Except this ecological kidney harvesting comes with the promise of offsetting, i.e., transplanted elsewhere.
Please do have your say—not to me but to the government.
Sonny Whitelaw firstname.lastname@example.org
Reports & bird surveys:
- Upcoming surveys:
- Opihi River :Tuesday 05 October: please contact Helen Greenep for details: email@example.com.
- Ailsa Howard posts daily updates with incredible images on Facebook, of the banded dotterels of South Bay, Kaikoura, facing incredible odds to find a safe place to nest and raise their chicks. Follow their story here.
- Update on the Ashley Rakahuri River
- Boffa Miskell: Upper Rangitata Ten Year Weed Plan 2019-2029
- Grove (ECan): Agricultural land use change in mid Canterbury hill and high country 1990-2019; implications for indigenous biodiversity and ecosystem health
- In a corner of Canterbury, poor protection starts to bite – Newsroom article on Philip Grove’s (ECan) report above.
- The Waitaha Action to Impact Fund is open for applications until, Monday 11 October 2021.
- During the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020, Predator Free NZ hosted several free webinars on a range of predator control topics including the impact of hedgehogs and innovations in devices, lures, toxins, and traps.
- Rohe Kōreporepo – The Swamp, the Sacred Place 2021 – New Zealand International Film Festival 29 October – 14 November Christchurch. Wetlands provide the best natural defence against devastating floods. Film by Katherine Gallagher (Seven Rivers Walking) explores the re-flooding, re-creation and restoration of our wetlands by 60 kaitiaki repo/swamp guardians from throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.
- Cabin fever hit the juvenile kaki population in the Twizel aviaries during lockdown. This is what happened:
- Seabirds change the structure of their eyes milliseconds after entering the water – NZ Geographic
- First eggs of the season for imperilled dotterel colony already pillaged by cats – Stuff
- Farmers upset at plans to sacrifice their land to save town from river – Stuff (Insight into the issue of ‘giving rivers room to move’ ).
- Petition for the protection of the long-finned eel Kuwharuwharu under the Wildlife Act: Parliament NZ website
Updates to Environment Guide website now complete (important information on a number of reforms and policy statements relevant to freshwater)
- The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature is sending a united signal to step up ambition on nature. Endorsers commit to ten actions to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for sustainable development. New Zealand is yet to sign.
- Joy & Canning; Shifting baselines and political expediency in New Zealand’s freshwater management, CSIRO Marine & Freshwater Research. 72(4) 456-461
- Lowi-Merri et al; The relationship between sternum variation and mode of locomotion in bird, BMC Biology