Cass Bay planting gives native biodiversity a helping hand

On Friday 7 August a group of over 30 volunteers began planting the banks of Cass Bay Stream as part of the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour Catchment Plan.

The group included members from Environment Canterbury and Conservation Volunteers NZ.

Working together to improve the health of the harbour

Whaka-Ora Programme Manager, Karen Banwell, describes the importance of projects such as this: “Whaka-ora is about working with local communities to support planting projects like this by helping to source plants and also connect volunteer networks.

“By working together, we can all help to restore streams within the Whakaraupō catchment to improve the ecological health of the harbour, and encourage birds, fish, lizards and insects to return.”

Over 30 volunteers started planting the banks of Cass Bay Stream on 7 August

Restoration and revegetation

Exemplifying the guiding concept of ki uta ki tai (from the mountains to the sea), the stream is one of several that drain the hills above Cass Bay/Motu-Kauati-Rahi.

It once flowed through a forested gully and hosted an abundance of wildlife.

This revegetation project aims to restore habitat for native birds, lizards and insects, and provide refuge for native fish species such as the banded kōkopu – a native whitebait which only spawns in a handful of streams.

Native plants are locally-sourced

When completed, over 13,000 seedlings from locally-sourced native trees and shrubs will be planted, many of which were provided through Environment Canterbury funding.

Native plants along the banks of Cass Bay Stream

Environment Canterbury Banks Peninsula Zone Delivery Lead, Gill Jenkins, said it was rewarding as an organisation to be able to be a key part of providing plants and hands-on help for such aspirational projects.

“We look forward to helping more people in the community plant their part of the stream too.”

Cass Bay Residents Association Chairperson and Reserves Management Committee member, Jenny Healey, said: “The local community really appreciates the support of Environment Canterbury and its staff, who have helped get the planting off to a great start, which we will now continue.”

Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour vision

The Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour Advisory Group comprises representatives from Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Lyttleton Port Company, Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury.

The group’s plan is to help restore the ecological and cultural health of Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour, bringing greater biodiversity to the area and helping to reduce sedimentation in the harbour.