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  • Newsletter #44: 18 March

    Posted on March 18, 2019 by in ARRG, Ashley, Black-backed gull, Black-billed gull, Rangitata River, wrybill

    Tēnā koutou,

    It almost feels inappropriate to be writing this newsletter. But then, perhaps our greatest defence against those who would turn our world inside out, is to refuse to let them stop us from continuing to protect and share our little patch of beauty. So, herein is our latest newsletter:

    Braided Rivers Seminar 2019

    Only a few places are still available for the full-day Braided Rivers Seminar at Lincoln University Wednesday 26 June (the programme is available here). The lecture theatre doesn’t really have standing room, so if you are thinking of coming, do book soon.

    The BRIDGE project & High Court decision defining a ‘river bed’

    The recent High Court decision has alarming implications for the management of braided rivers. This is a critical juncture on the time for the future of our braided rivers. Left unchallenged, the decision constrain’s ECan’s ability to limit the continued agricultural development of braided rivers. This is not an exaggeration. To quote ECan:

    “In late December 2018 the High Court released its decision on the definition of “river bed” in Dewhirst Land Company vs Canterbury Regional Council. The decision means that in braided rivers the bed is narrower than Environment Canterbury had previously applied.

    “Environment Canterbury believes the High Court decision does not reflect the dynamic nature of braided rivers and is concerned that it will, given the current Regional rules, not provide enough protection of braided river values and allow further encroachment.” (Emphasis mine)

    Over the next few weeks, further BRIDGE Project meetings led by ECan will be taking place. This is BRaid’s responses to the BRIDGE project meetings to date is here. I strongly urge you to attend these upcoming meetings because it is no exaggeration to state that the future of braided rivers and their rapidly diminishing ecosystems is at stake.

    Meeting times and places:

    • Waihao River – Wednesday 20 March, 4.00pm at Waihao Forks Hotel
    • Ahuriri River – Friday 22 March, 4.15pm at Omarama Community Centre
    • Hakatere/Ashburton River – Tuesday 26 March, 3.30pm at Council Chambers, Ashburton District Council
    • Waiau Uwha River – Friday 29 March, 2pm at Spotswood Hall

    Black-Backed Gull Management

    Last Friday, ECan published an FAQ on the control of Southern Black-Backed Gulls this past season. BRaid supports this work for reasons outlined in the FAQ. Please take a moment to read this, as it fully explains the rationale and strategy (and will save me answering lots of questions and correcting misinformation!).

    ARRG Documentary Film Premiere

    The award-winning efforts of the dedicated volunteers working to save the unique endangered birds of the Ashley-Rakahuri River are celebrated in a short film premiered this coming Thursday 6pm at the Rangiora Town Hall Cinema. Tickets to see the film are FREE. A casual BYO social function will be held afterwards at the Department of Conservation, River Road Rangiora.

    2019: Year of the Wrybill

    Officially launched at Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre 11 March, Amanda Hunt was inspired by the story we reported in the last newsletter, about the feisty little wrybill named C96254:

    Wrybill 2019

    Forest Creek
    Rangitata River

    Four inches high, she stands
    ferocious on the river bed
    gravel at her feet
    squeaks of a tiny chick behind

    her mate, flying ace, hurls himself
    once more towards the enemy
    drawing fire from a
    giant circling Hercules:

    mentioned in dispatches
    “defending the territory vigorously
    from black-backed gulls” :
    gutsy; fearless; definitely a keeper.

    Survivor of the twenty-eighteen flood
    somehow getting her chick away
    from a thousand cumec onslaught
    Mother of the Year.

    They come here every year.
    It’s where all the kids were born.
    Be quiet, she hisses.
    Go to the bunker.

    She closes on the undefended flank
    letting loose the air raid warning.
    Wing Commander C96254:
    do not mess with this woman.

    Amanda Hunt

    BRaid’s next meeting

    The next BRaid meeting will be at 3.00pm, 24 May at the DOC offices Nga Mai Road, Sockburn. You do not have to be a member to attend and we would love to see you there.

    Sonny Whitelaw Manager

    Other news

    Check our Facebook page regularly, as events posted there often expire within days.

    Membership Renewal is due at the AGM September each year. If you are not already a member of BRaid, you can join as a General, Casual, or Representative member. General Membership is a modest $20/annum, giving you voting rights and the opportunity to have a say in BRaid’s activi

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