Work has begun to enhance the flow and help invertebrates and fish such as inanga/whitebait thrive in the Lower Lyell Creek.
Environment Canterbury staff have installed a series of riffles using river stones and boulders near the mouth of Waikōau/Lyell Creek.
It is the first of three riffle projects to happen in the coming months and which community members could get involved with.
Environment Canterbury project delivery officer Heath Melville said the addition of riffles in the lower Waikōau/Lyell Creek increased its viability as a freshwater habitat by increasing the flow speed in the stream.
“The result is a decrease in water temperature, better aeration, and an increase in habitat diversity with areas of fast and slow water movement,” he said.
The team also planted natives along the banks of the Waikōau/Lyell Creek, with more water-tolerant species chosen to be planted nearer the flowing water and dryer species further up the bank.
“Plant species selected will not impede flows. However, they will overhang slightly, shading the edge and cooling the water to discourage algal blooms and encourage indigenous biodiversity, such as
inanga,” Heath said.
As well as ecological and aesthetic benefits, it is hoped taking steps like creating riffles and planting will encourage members of the community and local businesses to take an active stewardship role, becoming kaitiaki of the Waikōau/Lyell Creek.
The project is just one of a number of initiatives developed under the Love the Lyell programme.
Based on recommendations by NIWA on how to improve and restore the stream as a healthy waterway, the Love the Lyell programme aims to reduce contaminants, enhance habitats, increase plantings and restore the community’s connection with the creek.
Keep an eye out for opportunities to get involved in planting, clean-ups and looking after the Waikōau/Lyell Creek this year. If you are interested in being involved pop into the Kaikōura Environment Canterbury office for a chat with Heath.
Source: Environment Canterbury