Protection for an ecological site at Eyrewell Reserve

Press Release – Environment Canterbury

Rabbit-proof fencing and solar-powered hot-wire have been installed around the 2.3ha Eyrewell Scientific Reserve thanks to support from Environment Canterbury’s Immediate Steps Programme.December 15, 2011

Protection for an ecological site of national significance at Eyrewell Reserve

Rabbit-proof fencing and solar-powered hot-wire have been installed around the 2.3ha Eyrewell Scientific Reserve thanks to support from Environment Canterbury’s Immediate Steps Programme.

Environment Canterbury’s Team Leader Biodiversity, Jo Abbott, says the reserve has high biodiversity values in an area which is highly modified by agriculture, horticulture and farming activities.

The project was chosen for financial support by the Waimakariri Zone Committee, which represents community interests and was set up as part of the Canterbury Water Management Committee (see page 2 for a location map for the reserve).

“It’s a threatened dryland environment with a mosaic of dense kanuka woodland groves and has been identified as a site of national priority for protection.

“The installation of the fences will help ensure that the threatened land is not compromised by unwanted animal pests.

“The first aim at Eyrewell is to halt the decline in indigenous biodiversity. Once we have done that we want to begin restoring the native flora and fauna at the site.

“Ecosystems such as those found at Eyrewell Reserve are adapted to dry conditions. The continued expansion of irrigation on the Canterbury Plains means looking after what we do have left is very important,” says Jo Abbott.

The Eyrewell reserve is home to more than 73 identified native plants and species. They are organised into three distinct plant communities – low kanuka forest, shrubland and grassland. Clearings of moss grassland exist in sheltered areas.

“Department of Conservation employees are continuing to manage the reserve, undertaking weed and pest control, providing habitat refuges for native lizards and working with neighbouring landowners in ensure irrigation practices do not impact on the reserve,” says Jo Abbott.

The Waimakariri Zone Committee selected the project to receive $5,600 from its pool of $100,000 to support Year 1 biodiversity projects in the zone.

A five year $10 million ‘Immediate Steps’ biodiversity protection and restoration programme was launched in 2010 as part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. Through Immediate Steps, a substantial $2 million each year is available for protecting and restoring biodiversity in and around freshwater habitats. Of this two thirds comes from Environment Canterbury rates and one third comes from land owner contributions.

ENDS

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