$16m project to protect and restore Canterbury's Rangitata River

1:01 pm on 5 August 2021

A $16 million project has been announced to protect and enhance unique habitats in a Canterbury river.

A bridge over the Rangitata River.

A bridge over the Rangitata River. Photo: Unsplash / Tim Marshall

Minister for conservation Kiri Allan said work on the Rangitata River would restore the health of awa.

The project was divided into two intiatives, she said.

One was an $8.7m project focusing on the Lower Rangitata, led by Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua, and a $7.3m project focusing on the Upper Rangitata, spearheaded by the Upper Rangitata Gorge Landcare Group.

"The Upper Rangitata project will see farmers and landowners partnering with DOC [Department of Conservation] and other agencies to fence off stock, restore wetlands, trap pests, and propagate and plant eco-sourced and culturally significant natives in a joint move to improve water quality and enhance biodiversity values along the riverbank," Allen said.

"It recognises the intrinsic values of this special area, which runs through some of the South Island's best known high country stations including Mt Peel, Erewhon and Mesopotamia."

Part of the the Department of Conservation's Nga Awa river restoration programme, the Rangitata is one of 14 rivers of significance.

The project on the Lower Rangitata focuses on the braided fairway, berms next to the main river channels, wetlands, and intensively farmed riparian margins within the lower catchment.

"Supporting and championing people to connect to their whenua, learn and apply new skills, while also leaving an enduring conservation legacy is the focus of our Jobs for Nature programme.

"The last few years have been challenging ones for Canterbury. This is a fantastic multi-pronged initiative that will have major benefits for the environment into the future."