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Resilient River Communities

Ashley/Rakahuri River protection

Environment Canterbury

The Ashley River/Rakahuri is a key feature of the North Canterbury landscape that poses a significant flood risk to the communities living on its floodplain. This project involves removing exotic vegetation which is currently choking a 21-kilometre section of the river between Ashley Gorge and the Okuku River confluence, and in the Okuku River.

Left unchecked this vegetation is a flood and erosion risk, occupying the channel and forcing flood waters towards farmland. Weed growth can also contribute to the loss of aquatic habitats and nesting areas for native birds.

Braided rivers are a precious and iconic part of the Canterbury environment. As a result of the introduction and invasion of weeds, predators, and human activities, braided rivers and their bird species, plants, native fish and insects are under threat. We are prioritising the protection and restoration of our braided rivers’ unique values as part of our Braided River Revival/ Whakahaumanu Ngā Awa ā Pākihi work.

Through this project in the Ashley River/Rakahuri, and others across the region, we are working on the restoration of our rivers normal braided character, which will in turn will enhance a range of natural biodiversity values, including natural braided river habitats.