The Canterbury Waterway Rehabilitation Experiment or CAREX aims to improve rural waterway health through better nutrient, sediment and weed management.
Led by professors from the University of Canterbury's Freshwater Ecology Research Group, CAREX has teamed up with DOC and Fonterra and also scientists from Envionmental Science and Research (ESR) to work out how to rehabilitate waterways.
Jill and Richard Simpson's dairy farm near Lincoln is one of ten properties CAREX visits to conduct in-stream and wetland trials. The couple fenced off one hectare of farmland 15 years ago and planted it with native shrubs and trees. Now it is unique wetland providing a habitat for native fish, birds and plants.
Four natural springs in the wetland area drain into waterways on the Simpson's farm and are ideal for the rehabilitation experiments.
Dr Catherine Febria is from School of Biological Sciences and is part of the CAREX research team.
"We were looking to try and find natural places around agricultural waterways and this is one of the only protected wetlands… and it's just a great place to learn about what is the native biodiversity in the water and in the agricultural waterways in the region and so that's what brought us here two and a half years ago" she says.
Several in-stream and laboratory trials are currently underway to evaluate rehabilitation tools designed to manage macrophytes, reduce and remove sediment inputs, reduce nutrient levels in waterways, and improve in-stream habitat and biodiversity in the waterways.
Next year the Simpsons plan to put a public walkway through the wetland on their farm.