Cleaning up with watercress
A Wainono farmer hopes watercress could help clean the area's degraded catchment.
Rory Foley is working with Environment Canterbury on a project that involves not only fencing and replanting alongside streams, but also planting watercress in the drain leading to the stream itself.
"I'm really conscious of the environment, because I work on the land," he said. "I want to help improve the habitat for future generations, we have a responsibility to do so.
"We've lost a lot of the native wetlands, we need to restore them."
Mr Foley has started to place watercress in netting into the stream. Once it has done its job, it will be removed and used as stock feed.
"It's a really versatile plant, it cleans up the water, and cows find it tasty," he said. "I've seen cows flock for miles to get a taste of it."
The project caught ECan's attention - it had already provided $25,000 in funding to assist his other efforts cleaning up the Wainono catchment.
"When they saw I was willing, they got on with it. Farmers should give ECan a go, they were willing to listen."
Mr Foley and ECan will monitor the success of the watercress project over the next two years. Although it is separate to his fencing, replanting and other restoration work, Mr Foley hoped it could complement it.
"The port [PrimePort Timaru] has lent me bits of old netting," he said. "It's just a matter of me tying it together and laying it out.
"It takes me a day or so to put it together. I'm working with two metre by five metre stretches, I want a five by 20 net by the end of this."
A National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research report, compiled in 2010, classed Lake Wainono as one of New Zealand's five most degraded.
ECan biodiversity team leader Jo Abbott said the regional council and Ministry for the Environment had each assigned about $1 million over the next two years toward improving the greater Wainono catchment.
ECan had also set aside $120,000 over the next four years for smaller projects in the greater Wainono area.
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