This project has now finished. Thank you to all the helpers who planted and maintained riparian and water plants around the springs and ponds that contain the elusive mudfish. The plants provide cover from birds and spawning habitat where the mudfish can lay their eggs.
Working Waters Trust, a dairy farmer and North Canterbury Forest and Bird 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.
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.