Middelmost Mudfish Project

Working Waters Trust, a dairy farmer and North Canterbury Forest and Bird have teamed up for a special community project in North Canterbury near Oxford to protect the threatened Canterbury mudfish and restore a wetland in the area. The mudfish restoration project also provides educational opportunities for the local View Hill School.

We are looking for helpers for tasks such as planting and maintaining riparian and water plants around springs and ponds that contain the elusive mudfish. The plants provide cover from birds and spawning habitat where the mudfish can lay their eggs. Creative people are sought to help with design of interpretation panels and outdoor seating installation for example. Also, if you happen to have a mate with a digger.....let us know!

The conservation project has been assisted by the generosity and enthusiasm of Middlemost dairy farmer, Althea MacLean, to carry out the project on her land, and she's right behind saving the mudfish from extinction as well as restoring the wetland area and providing a place for waterfowl on her farm.

It is not known exactly how many Canterbury mudfish are left, however it is classified by DOC as nationally critical, which means it is on the brink of extinction. In fact some 74% of all native fish species are now 'at risk' or 'threatened' according to the most recent DOC threat status 2013 assessments, largely because of loss of habitat and exotic predators.

In the case of the diminutive Canterbury mudfish the loss of over 90% of pre-European wetlands mainly through farming development is also a major reason, while the 2014-15 drought also killed many fish, with some mudfish springs, drains or pools drying up for months.

Environment Canterbury has contributed through its regional Immediate Steps funding to facilitate Working Waters Trust to fence stock from the creek and carry out minor earthworks to create new ponds.

For more information or to be added onto the mailing list, please contact Sophie Allen sophie@workingwaters.org

For information on upcoming working bees, public talks and field trips, check out our events page