Happy New Year!
And congratulations to the conservation heroes honoured through the New Years honours list. It was fantastic to see Ted and Ailsa Howard acknowledged for their efforts and ongoing research to save the banded dotterels at South Bay, Kaikoura.
Since November, I’ve been trying to book a venue for this year’s Braided Rivers Seminar in July or August. It’s proving to be problematic. The issues for universities, for example, include uncertainty how overseas students will react to yesterday’s news of border openings and what that may mean for the availability of lecture theatres. Having said that, I am incredibly grateful and periodically pinch myself that we managed to run two braided rivers seminars in 2020 and 2021 between lockdowns and without restrictions. So, we do plan to hold a seminar later this year, but the dates and venue may be decided at short notice. If you would like to present at the next seminar, please email me as it would be great to begin preparations now, despite the uncertainty.
Sonny Whitelaw firstname.lastname@example.org
At least a thousand black-billed gulls nested on the Ashley Rakahuri estuary this year and it appears they had reasonable success….read more.
All bird surveys are found on the relevant rivers pages on this website. Please note that some survey results will be released as reports over the next few months. I’ll add links in coming newsletters.
- Quarry company wants to extract thousands of tonnes of gravel from Canterbury riverbed – Stuff. BRaid is currently following up on this issue and will have more to say, soon.
- The Rivers Group Conference ‘Making Room for Rivers’ has been postponed again, from March to…maybe April (according to their website) but probably much later in the year.
- Flood warnings: “Nine of the ten most damaging floods in New Zealand between 2007 and 2017 occurred during AR [atmospheric river] events.” Not sure what an ‘Atmospheric River’ is? See here. The page also explains current and future flood risks to Canterbury.
- Transitioning your cat to be an indoor-only cat (and save heaps of vet fees) – Youtube video
- ‘Big six’ pest plants take hit in the Mackenzie Basin, including Russell lupins (pictured above)- Stuff
- Which begs the question, why are Toitū Envirocare using Russell lupins as their poster child to celebrate their Brighter Future Enviro Awards? – advertorial featured in Stuff
- Meet ‘The Felixer’, the key trapping tool in Operation Pussylockdown currently being trialed in Australia. It uses lasers to detect the shape, size and movement of animals. If a feral cat is detected, it deploys a sticky poison gel onto the cat’s fur, which is ingested through grooming.
- Eighteen kakī chicks hatch over three days in December – Radio NZ
- A behind the scenes peek at what it takes to gather the right kinds of food to enable captive-bred tūturuatu and kakī to succeed when released into the wild – Isaac Conservation Trust.
- Protecting our precious braided river birds – ECan storyboard
- ‘Fake news’ foils would be predators ‘- Predator Free NZ follows up on Grant Norbury’s work that he presented at the 2017 Braided Rivers Seminar ‘Messing with their Heads‘ about the role of wasting predators’ time and energy pursuing smells that promise them a feed, but deliver nothing. The Predator Free article covers it all, but I’ve also included a link in ‘Research’ below to the published research.
- Toxic algae blooms. Several warnings have come out these past two months. Do please check the LAWA website for updates before heading out to any river or lake.
- The annual ‘crate day’ impact on the Ashley Rakahuri River. Thanks so much to ARRG, DOC, and 2 ECan Park Rangers being involved in managing the event this year – full credit to all.
- Decades of confining our braided rivers has exacerbated the risk of them breaking out and reclaiming their braidplains. The first report to come out of the EWERAM (Extreme Weather Event Real-time Attribution Machine) project was to identify the role that climate change had on the Ashburton Hakatere and Ashley Rakahuri Rivers – Stuff
- NIWA 2021 climate report (including these and other floods) – 15 minute video
- See here for more information on Event Attribution mentioned in both above reports.
- Recreating the lost sounds of Spring Nature Podcast. It’s based on Northern Hemisphere birdsong citizen science, and as far as I can tell, this is open access. (I’ve added a link to the research paper below.)
- Several things slipped through the cracks these past few years. This gem from Alice Lidell, the 2019 winner of the Environmental Defence Society’s essay competition, is well worth reading: ‘Is the criminal justice system doing justice for rivers?‘
- BiodiverCities by 2030: Transforming Cities’ Relationship with Nature – ‘To thrive, cities must lean into nature. That means having open green spaces and interconnected waterways to prevent floods…” – World Economic Forum
- Wetland Handbook Series – Now 10 years old, these three handbooks complied by Landcare Research are as useful and relevant today as they were when first published.
Jobs/scholarships (not BRaid related but very cool jobs):
- PhD scholarship – University of Canterbury (closes 31 March): World-leading biodiversity measurement in Aotearoa New Zealand: Machine learning for developing detection models of NZ ecosystem types and restoration, using remote sensing data.
- Zoological Field Assistants – British Antarctic Survey, South Georgia (closes 31 March): to carry out fieldwork on seabirds and seals on this sub-Antarctic island.
- Morrison et al; Bird population declines and species turnover are changing the acoustic properties of spring soundscapes, Nature Communications
- Puurtinen et al; The Living Planet Index does not measure abundance, Nature
- Muralie et al; Emphasizing declining populations in the Living Planet Report, Nature
- Norbury et al; Misinformation tactics protect rare birds from problem predators, Science Advances (open access).
- Steffens et al; Testing the effectiveness of integrated pest control at protecting whio (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos) from stoat (Mustela erminea) predation in beech forest (Nothofagaceae) – New Zealand journal of Ecology
- Hendrikse et al; RNAi: a novel tool for vertebrate pest management in Aotearoa New Zealand? – New Zealand journal of Ecology
- Lukies, Gaskin, and Whitehead: The effects of sediment on birds foraging in intertidal and nearshore habitats in Aotearoa New Zealand: A literature review and recommendations for future work. – DOC (web page | PDF)
- Reid et al; Extreme rainfall in New Zealand and its association with Atmospheric Rivers – Environmental Research Letters (open access).