Fences good news for at-risk species

Pre-fencing .. Old Man Swamp before it was fenced. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

Rare native birds will now have a safer trip, thanks to the completion of a major biodiversity project in the Mackenzie Basin’s tiniest alpine lakes and remote wetlands.

Fencing of two tarns (small alpine lakes) and a large wetland has now been completed at Balmoral Station near Lake Tekapo, as part of a joint project supported by the Upper Waitaki water zone committee.

Fencing the tarn . . . Fencing at Swamp Lagoon.

Nearly 4000m of fencing has now been built at Balmoral for this project, funded by the landowners as well as $24,000 of biodiversity funding.

The completed fencing, which helps to improve water quality and habitat, will protect migratory species such as black-fronted tern, banded dotterel and New Zealand pied oystercatcher, as well as important locals such as the kaki black stilt.

Zone committee chairman Simon Cameron said the committee was delighted the significant project was now complete.

The tarns and wetlands located in the area near Lake Tekapo were special, he said.

“They are important to rare native species who use the tarns as part of their migratory lifestyle, as well as birds like our critically endangered kaki that call Mackenzie home.

“It’s great that the zone committee and Environment Canterbury can support landowners taking voluntary steps like this to improve biodiversity on their land.”

As well as supporting native birds, tarns in this area also host many tiny and vulnerable plant species that grow only in such microclimates, including Hypericum rubicundulum and Carex rubicunda

The landowners at Balmoral Station also fenced an area called Old Man Swamp large, diverse wetland that supports a wide variety of native tussock, grass and rush plants and is an important mahinga kai resource for local runanga.

Sam Simpson, of Balmoral Station, said the fencing project was part of the overall farm management plan that focused on the sustainability of the station’s environment. The plan was broken down into smaller land management units which included details of soil types, at-risk species and native plants.

“We know we need to have fencing in place to protect all our special places,” he said.

“It just makes sense to us to farm sustainably and look after what we’ve got here.”