Healthy Wai Supported by Community Partnerships

Snake Creek, a tributary of the Silverstream River, is an important trout spawning stream and home to native species, such as the endangered long fin eel.

But the stream becomes choked every year with water weeds which leads to the build-up of sediment on the stream bed – not good for stream life. This was the problem that Leeston students were tasked with solving.

Nearly 70 Leeston School students decided to take action to restore Snake Creek, but to do this, they knew they had to come up with a plan to create shade that could suppress the weeds.

Guided by Enviroschools Facilitator Matt Stanford, the students’ plan came to fruition and involved reshaping the banks which were too steep to plant on, designing a planting plan and also the addition of features in the stream, such as boulders and wood for habitat.

“What was particularly great about this project was the students were involved right from the beginning with all the planning and design and then they got to see it to fruition” – Matt Stanford.

Matt says the project was a great opportunity to connect young people to a local waterway so that they could learn the issues waterways face and how to care for them as part of their holistic Enviroschools journey.

Fulton Hogan donated the earthmoving equipment and operators, and armed with the students’ plan they reshaped the bank as the students had designed it. The students then returned to do the planting and to position the boulders.

“We were happy to be part of a restoration project that involved the local school and would lead to improvements downstream in the Selwyn/Waikirirki River” – Don Chittock, Fulton Hogan’s South Island Resource and Sustainability Manager.

Ruby Moroney, Runy Templeton and Maddie Long, aged 11, Year 6 Leeston School.

Snake Creek is a tributary of Silverstream which flows into the Silverstream River and then into the Selwyn/ Waikirikiri River just upstream of Coes Ford.

The project is part of a wider project being carried out in Snake Creek by the Water & Wildlife Habitat Trust in conjunction with landowners and multiple funding partners to restore approximately 3km of the waterway.

There are also other projects in the catchment on Silverstream and McGraths streams. A crowd funding campaign is being run to help restore an 875m section of Silverstream. Visit the Million Metres Stream Project website to find out more.

Groups involved in project funding are: Rata Foundation, Living Waters – DOC/Fonterra, Environment Canterbury, Fulton Hogan, The Selwyn District Council, The Pub Charity, Fish & Game, and Ministry for the Environment.

Article information partially sourced from: Richie Cosgrove, Fish & Game New Zealand