How do you see the future of the experiment and what do you hope for?
We intend to grow our approach nationally, which will allow us to continue agricultural waterway restoration trials, helping improve the chances of restoration in waterways facing multiple issues. Ultimately, we want to make a difference to how fresh waters are managed across the country.
We need to fill gaps in our knowledge about the effectiveness of commonly-used tools, such as riparian planting and channel design. For example, do certain species of native plants offer other benefits for water quality? Can we enhance multiple functions including flood control and nutrient reductions, at the same time? Then, we want to see how these solutions can be scaled up to a catchment level to restore ecological health alongside cultural values.
We also want to recognise and understand the role that social, cultural, logistical, and economic institutions play in implementing restoration, so future projects will include a diversity of experts, questions and approaches to generate solutions for New Zealand’s agricultural waterways and their catchments.
Partnering with Living Water is an important part of that journey. We are excited to collaborate with them to trial tools on-farm and in waterways in the Ararira-LII catchment and we’re looking at ways we can work together to expand across the catchment.
How does the partnership with Living Water help CAREX?
Living Water has offered great opportunities for CAREX.
The first and most significant outcome of this partnership has been the grant to support the Silverstream research site together with the Simpson family and Five Springs farm. With Living Water’s support, CAREX has been able to enhance and add to the great work the Simpsons started in 2001 to create a 1-ha wetland. We’ve re-shaped 850m of waterway, added riparian plantings to enhance the waterway’s ecology, conducted trials to improve the management of nuisance aquatic weeds, installed sediment traps and monitored of a full range of ecological health indicators to better understand microbial contamination.
Our strategic research partnership, which began in 2017, offers CAREX the opportunity to scale solutions beyond Canterbury. We have a direct line of communication to both DOC and Fonterra to provide insight, oversight and examples of robust science to inform agricultural waterway rehabilitation across the country.