Army, varsity to help restore Kahuterawa Stream

The military and Massey University will pitch in with efforts to clean up a Manawatu stream under a deal to be signed tomorrow.

Horizons Regional Council, Massey University and the New Zealand Defence Force will tomorrow formally agree on an 11-year restoration plan for the lower reaches of the Kahuterawa Stream.

The 4-kilometre stretch marks the boundaries of Massey University and Linton Military Camp and has been identified as a significant area for water quality and biodiversity as it meanders through the Kahuterawa Valley before flowing into the Manawatu River.

Horizons environmental management officer Neil Mickleson said the area had been overrun by weeds and pests, but actions in the plan would see it transformed into a haven for native plants, birds and fish.

"The Manawatu Plains are some of the most fertile in the region but just 5 per cent of the original biodiversity remains.

"The lower Kahuterawa Stream has been identified as a site of significance for rare and threatened native fish including the banded kokopu, giant kokopu, short jaw kokopu, koaro and red-finned bully and this project has received funding under the Manawatu River Leaders' Accord to restore native fish habitat. The surrounding area is also home to a nationally endangered carnivorous land snail and numerous native bird species.

"It's so important that we work together to maintain and enhance places like the Kahuterawa Stream and the first two years of this project will involve a concentrated drive to eradicate all weeds and carry out pest animal control," he said.

Massey University assistant vice-chancellor Stuart Morriss said the agreement would provide an outdoor classroom for staff and students.

"Not only will this restoration project help rejuvenate the stream environment, but it will also provide a living laboratory for Massey researchers and students to study freshwater ecology and fluvial geomorphology in their own backyard," he said.

Mr Mickleson said boundary fences would be maintained to ensure they were stock-proof and in January next year work would get under way on a programme to plant 40,000 native plants in the area over the project's duration.

Manawatu Standard