Over the past five years Central Plains Water Limited (CPW) has contributed over one million dollars to a variety of projects that enhance biodiversity in the CPW operational area. The Central Plains Water Environmental Management Fund (EMF) was established as part of the CPW consent. CPW provides annual contributions of approximately $115,000 to the fund.
The funds are administered by a Trust which allows for representatives from the community, iwi, environmental and recreational interests and the local councils. This group of individuals make the decisions around which projects to fund.
“We are delighted that CPW has been able to provide substantial funding for a range of projects within the catchment that make a real environmental difference. Environmental sustainability is a very important part of our business. We have a goal of being a world leader in environmental and sustainable practice and the EMF is just one of the initiatives in place to help achieve this goal,” said CPW Chief Executive, Mark Pizey.
Projects selected for funding by the Trust include wetland enhancement, projects that minimise nutrient losses to lowland streams and riparian planting.
The Water and Wildlife Habitat Trust received $12,581 to assist with completion of their Silverstream Catchment Restoration project. The project is a group effort including landowners, Fish & Game, Water and Wildlife Habitat Trust, Environment Canterbury and the University of Canterbury Waterway Rehabilitation Experiment team (CAREX). Significant work had been completed on the early phases of the restoration project however funding was required to complete a final section of planting along the mainstem of the river. Planting provides a range of benefits including shading of the water, the provision of insects, leaf litter and woody debris from the riparian margin and the uptake of nitrates from the waterbody all of which lead to improved aquatic conditions for fish and invertebrates. Planting also helps to decrease the prevalence of Watercress and Monkey Musk which can create a flood risk.
Te Ara Kakariki (Greenway Canterbury Trust) has a mission to create a corridor of native biodiversity between the Waimakariri and Rakaia rivers, linking the mountains to the sea and Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere. The Trust has received several contributions from the EMF over the past five years to assist with native planting projects with their next planned planting session taking place in early September.
The Trust has also committed to the funding of research that increases the knowledge of impacts of irrigation on soil organic carbon and soil water holding capacity. Federated Farmers used a Trust grant to complete research that helps to fill some gaps in the National Soils Database (NSD), run by Landcare Research and to assist Canterbury irrigators to achieve sustainable management of their water and soil resources.
Individual farms have also benefited from Trust grants with Morchard Farm committed to a native planting and fencing project to enhance native birdlife and add to the green pathways.
“The return of large numbers of native birds to the foothills and Canterbury Plains is a major incentive for us. We have a long established native planting in the headwaters of the Selwyn and the birdsong is amazing. It’s our goal to bring the sound of bellbirds back to Darfield and our home block with the funds received from the Trust assisting us to continue with this work”, said Ian Reed of Morchard Farm.
Mark Pizey says that in addition to the annual distribution of funds from the EMF, CPW also provides funds to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to support the work being undertaken to improve the environmental values associated with Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) and they contribute to costs associated with the annual opening of Te Waihora. “The range of projects that we have been able to fund is very satisfactory – from research through to native plantings. One of the key aspects is the way that a variety of groups within the community come together to develop and implement a range of exciting projects in our catchment to improve water quality. These are core goals for CPW,” concluded Pizey.