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Foothills Catchment Group working together

Foothills Catchment Group working together

We think the Foothills Catchment Group is pretty special.

Starting from small beginnings two years ago, we now have twelve landowners from Mt Somers to Mt Hutt working together to achieve environmental stewardship across the Mid Canterbury foothills.

The goal is to effect change on a larger scale than what any of us could do alone.

This month we’re opening up our group to new members.

We have a community meeting planned at the Staveley Hall in October so our neighbours can hear about what we’re doing and consider getting involved. Anyone living in our catchment, the area above the RDR between Mt Somers and the Rakaia Gorge, is welcome to join.

What are we about?

Every catchment group is different.

The Foothills Catchment Group is currently focused on understanding what’s driving water quality coming out of the foothills.

For more than a year, we have been sampling our creeks and streams looking to understand the data and how we as landowners living next to these water bodies can play a role in keeping them in good shape.

With support from the Mid Canterbury Catchment Collective, we have funded our own water sampling programme with quarterly testing of streams.

We plan to overlay the results with data from Ashburton District Council and one of our local irrigation schemes, Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation, to analyse what’s happening in the Upper Plains.

It may take us some years before we get to see the full water quality picture, but we have started to put the pieces of the jigsaw together.

We are also focused on biodiversity.

In April our group planted out 1000 native plants and trees along Staveley Stream with help from Synlait’s Whakapuāwai initiative, with another 1000 plants going in this October.

The plan is to plant out all suitable areas from the native bush where Staveley Stream starts to where in finishes at Boyers Stream over the next ten years.

Our catchment group wants to monitor the changes and improvements to the ecosystem of the stream, including birdlife and aquatic species.

With more than a dozen people coming together on this planting, it was a great example of community working together.

One of the biggest positives for me so far about being in a catchment group has been interaction with neighbours. We are all busy and I don't see any of my neighbours as often as I should.

The Staveley Stream planting project got us all talking and meeting up again which was great.

Now we hope to bring more landowners and residents into the group so we can build on our efforts and truly make this a collaborative community initiative.

By Foothills Catchment group treasurer,  John Totty