The Sanctuary, Waimakariri Braided River project

The Sanctuary wetland is a spring-fed swamp that is also subject to periodic flooding from the Waimakariri River. Two main wetland vegetation types are present: tussock sedge-kiokio swamp with scattered stands of raupō and an open canopy of small grey willow trees in the wettest areas; and taller willow swamp forest over a dense understorey of regenerating native hardwood species. The remainder of the sanctuary is not permanent wetland but floodplain with poplar-willow woodland and patchy native hardwood shrub species.

The sanctuary is actively managed by Environment Canterbury with an annual planting and weeding program focused on the wetland, while extensive area remains with patchy native vegetation suitable for enhancement.

The Forest and Bird project seeks to enhance riparian the area of the Englebrechts drain which runs through the forest patches into the river, interacting with multiple habitat types and delivering terrestrial energy into the river. Work will seek to establish and improve the existing patches, planting between them and removing weeds from the margins. Successful enhancement will see rapid establishment of the native community, supporting the whole food web from invertebrates through to river birds.

Work at the sanctuary will include planting, weeding, watering and trapping throughout the growing season. As there is an abundance of space, the more volunteers eager to help, the more we can enhance!

If you want to help the wildlife of the Sanctuary, and the Waimakariri river, and want to join us in this project work contact Greg Stanley email  phone 027 702 0811 for more information and to be put on the project email group, or come to one of our regular working bees.

Working bees are held on the fourth or fifth Saturday of every month from 1-3pm. Other events are advertised in the Forest & Bird North Canterbury branch newsletter and to the Sanctuary email group.

For information about our trapping programmes contact Greg, or Rick Robinson email,  phone 354 0350 or cell 021 251 8908. We have terrestrial trapping in the Sanctuary and also plan to assist with trapping along the river edges to protect breeding braided river birds.

To reach the Sanctuary you turn into Dickeys Rd which is the last road on the left before the start of Northern motorway at Belfast. Dickeys Rd turns into Coutts Island Rd which you follow to the end – about 5 kms.