Programme vision: Styx River catchment monitoring manual
In the past the Styx River catchment consisted largely of raupo/flax wetlands, grassland areas and coastal sand dunes. A diverse range of native fish and bird species, which had high cultural values and associations to the Tangata Whenua, supported the vegetation. However, by the early 1860s, after the arrival of Europeans, the biodiversity values in the river catchment began to change as the landscape was developed into regions that could support agricultural and horticultural based activities. Today, the river meanders northwards through reserves, rural pastures, horticultural areas and residential/industrial zones before it makes its way to the sea via Brooklands Lagoon. These varying landuses have altered the original landscape features of the river catchment, and have come with some considerable impact to the natural values in the area. However, despite the obvious alteration to much of the river catchment, regions with earlier natural values are still visible. For example, small remnant pockets of native plants have been able to coexist amongst exotic species, core wetlands are present, and the river still acts as an ecological corridor for the upstream and downstream migrations of birds, fish, invertebrates and plants. 'Programme Vision' contributes to the restoration project initiated by the Christchurch City Council Waterways and Wetlands Team: to restore once degraded sections of the Styx River corridor into areas that can support a dynamic and fully functioning ecosystem. The objectives of Programme Vision are to assist with this restoration plan, and to promote and support community and school groups to monitor for the effects of residential and commercial landuse activities on the Styx River system. This manual consists of tools on how to pinpoint problem areas along the river corridor, methods to determine the rivers 'health', and ways to take steps to help restore sections of the river corridor. In its due course, this programme will assist in establishing what progress has come about from the restoration efforts made, and will support us to further understand which transitions are needed to bring the natural values of the Styx River catchment back to life.... [Show full abstract]
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