Little Lake Mason fencing project protects biodiversity values

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A fence around the southern and eastern shores of Little Lake Mason has been installed thanks to support from Environment Canterbury’s Immediate Steps Programme and Fish and Game.

The project was chosen for financial support by the Hurunui-Waiau Water Management Zone Committee as part of its Immediate Steps biodiversity funding programme.

Little Lake Mason is in the ecologically important Sumner Lakes/ Hoku Kura area which contains habitats including wetlands and red, silver and mountain beech forests. The area is considered to be a cultural priority for biodiversity protection, in accordance with the principle of Ki Uta Ki Tai – from mountains to the sea- due to it being the starting point of the catchment.

Environment Canterbury Biodiversity Officer, Jean-Marie Tompkins said that Little Lake Mason provides excellent habitat for invertebrates and native fish.

“The Lake is surrounded by pastoral land leased for light cattle grazing. The biodiversity value of the lake was at risk due to stock having an adverse impact on the lake’s margin and its water quality.

“The fencing around the lake will ensure stock are excluded and will allow the lake margin to recover its riparian vegetation, which reduces the amount of sediment entering the lake and provides cover for fish species.

“Fish and Game staff will undertake annual field work in the area and the landowner will maintain the fence,” said Jean-Marie Tompkins.

The Hurunui-Waiau Zone Committee selected the project to receive $25,000 from its pool of $100,000 to support Year 1 biodiversity projects in the zone.

The landowner contributed significantly to the project and Fish and Game also provided logistical support.

Through the Immediate Steps programme, $2 million is available each year for protecting and restoring biodiversity in and around freshwater habitats. Of this, two thirds comes from Environment Canterbury rates, and one third comes from land owner contributions.

The ‘Immediate Steps’ biodiversity programme was launched in 2010 as part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. It provides $10 million for protection and restoration projects in Canterbury over five years.

Hurunui River upper reaches and lakes