Travis Wetland Monthly Newsletter May 2019

Travis Wetland Trust

May 2019

Workday Reminder, May 18 2019

Travis Wetland Location Map
Travis Wetland Location Map

Travis public planting day, Saturday May 18 2019, 10 am – 12:30.

Meet at the Education Centre (the old farm house) near the Beach Rd car park at 10 am.

We will be doing some infill planting in the area beside the Beach Rd entrance. As usual the planting will be followed by a BBQ at the Education Centre.

When we leave the Education Centre to work somewhere around the wetland a notice board in the porch will indicate where we have gone, if it’s not obvious.

Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

All tools provided.

Latest News

Workday Saturday 27 April

Planting on Mairehau dune
Planting on Mairehau dune

Sixteen people, including several children, turned up on this very windy nor’west morning and walked around to the Mairehau Road car park . For some of us it was a slow walk as we stopped to photograph interesting plants and invertebrates along the way. These photos were submitted as part of the City Nature Challenge, where cities around the world send in photos or other records of species observed over a four day period. The shrubby tororaro (Muehlenbeckia astonii) beside the track was very photogenic with its translucent white fruit and black seeds.

Planting soon began in earnest to the south of the track near the new picnic table. Soft ground allowed for fast work and soon 100 plants, mainly Carex secta and a few Juncus, were safely in place. Our next job was to plant a few drought tolerant specimens in gaps on dune areas nearby. We carried water in buckets from a nearby drain to give these plants a good start.

The children enjoyed seeing a variety of insects including common bag moths, mantids and katydids on the walk back to the Ed Centre, where we enjoyed some welcome refreshments. Thanks everyone.

Article: Sue Britain, Image: Dave Evans

Plans for Residential Red Zone

As many of you will no doubt have seen, Regenerate Christchurch has submitted the Draft Regeneration Plan for the Avon Ōtākaro Red Zone to the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Dr Megan Woods.

The plan will either be approved or rejected by the Minister, and a date for that decision is not yet apparent. There are negotiations underway between Council and the Crown over a final settlement agreement in terms of earthquake assets, responsibilities and liabilities. I presume that discussion over the draft plan and responsibility for the outcomes it identifies are part of the larger picture.

The draft plan did not expressly include provision for an out-of-river flat water sporting facility – largely for reasons of conflict with areas required for stormwater treatment and mitigation, and also to protect groundwater resources. It was identified that a considerable ground water take would be required to maintain a clean condition suitable for water contact activities in the lake, if it were to be built.

The plan does identify a strong theme of ecological responsibility and makes potential provision for an ecosanctuary. This is timely given recent news stories and announcements of both a proposed marine sanctuary (announced by the government in the past week) and also recent proposals or conceptual discussion of a sanctuary in the southern part of the Port Hills. Such a sanctuary would ultimately be compatible with both our existing sanctuary at Riccarton Bush, and any future one in the area of Travis and the adjoining red zone. Canterbury is a big sanctuary ‘hole’. We need multiple sanctuaries like Auckland and Wellington, and to match every other region in the country, to seed the recovery of our charismatic and endangered wildlife into our cultural landscapes. Such sanctuaries generate a so-called halo effect, ecologically feeding birds out into the wider river corridor and city. Moreover personal encounters also stimulate an increasing identity with our unique species and a motivation to protect and expand their delicate populations.

Once the plan is accepted the real battle for funding from agencies and/or the private sector will begin – to achieve delivery of various parts of the plan. That is assuming the plan gains the minister’s approval and that no challenge (legal or political) to the omission of a out-of-river flat water facility succeeds. At present only relatively small amounts of money (given the size of the red zone area) are set aside in long term planning, and these do not necessarily relate to the creation of a sanctuary. However, there are various initiatives and negotiations underway to establish detailed design and costings, for a fenced sanctuary, and to build the support base. The Travis Wetland legacy will be a significant contribution to this project.

Article: Sean Ward

New Entrance Sign on Frosts Rd

New Travis entrance sign
New Travis entrance sign

Early in May a new entrance sign was installed at the Beach Rd entrance to Travis Wetland. It includes the name Ōruapaeroa, which refers to the village established by Māori adjacent to Travis Wetland about 750 years ago, on the site of the current Queen Elizabeth II Park. The swamp served them as a mahinga kai – a site providing sustenance for body, mind and spirit. Waterfowl and weka gathered at the wetland fed the people and could be traded throughout Canterbury.

Article: Dave Evans, image: Grahame Bell

New Bird Perches in Pond

Placing logs in Travis main pond
Placing logs in Travis main pond

Also in early May new bird perching logs were dragged into place in the main pond. Rangers Kenny, Hannah and Dave showed great ingenuity in using mussel farm floats salvaged from the coast adjacent to Bottle Lake Forest to move the heavy logs out into the middle of the pond. This will please the water fowl greatly as the logs they have been using for several years have decayed and slowly disappeared below the water’s surface.

Article: Dave Evans, image: John Skilton

New Seat by Pond

Memorial seat
Memorial seat dedication ceremony

At a ceremony on Saturday 11 May a seat by the main pond was dedicated to the memory of long-time Travis volunteer and Trust member Charlie Catt. The seat is on the south-east edge of the pond, adjacent to the walkway and not far from the old stock yards. It provides a delightful place for quiet contemplation of the bird life on the pond and is surrounded by youthful forest giants – a kahikatea, a mataī and a tōtara.

Article: Dave Evans, image: John Rice

Latest Images

Images: Grahame Bell