Ashley River/Rakahuri vegetation clearance project

We want your feedback on vegetation clearance areas

In late 2020 we secured funding from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s Provincial Development Unit (PDU), towards flood protection works to help improve climate resilience for the Ashley community and commenced work on the Ashley River/Rakahuri vegetation clearance project in early 2021.

These works may affect landowners on either side of both the Ashley River/Rakahuri between Ashley Gorge and the Okuku River and the Okuku River upstream to just north of the Grey River. We have confirmed the clearance areas between Ashley Gorge and about a kilometre east of Cottles Rd (Location 1) but we would now like to receive feedback on our proposed clearance areas for the balance of the area (Location 2)

Click on the detailed map tab below to view the proposed clearance area in Location 2 (outlined in yellow). If you have feedback on the location of the clearance boundaries please let us know by filling out the feedback form below.

We want your feedback on vegetation clearance areas

In late 2020 we secured funding from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s Provincial Development Unit (PDU), towards flood protection works to help improve climate resilience for the Ashley community and commenced work on the Ashley River/Rakahuri vegetation clearance project in early 2021.

These works may affect landowners on either side of both the Ashley River/Rakahuri between Ashley Gorge and the Okuku River and the Okuku River upstream to just north of the Grey River. We have confirmed the clearance areas between Ashley Gorge and about a kilometre east of Cottles Rd (Location 1) but we would now like to receive feedback on our proposed clearance areas for the balance of the area (Location 2)

Click on the detailed map tab below to view the proposed clearance area in Location 2 (outlined in yellow). If you have feedback on the location of the clearance boundaries please let us know by filling out the feedback form below.

  • Proposed river clearance area

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    Please click the section title above for a detailed view of the proposed clearance area for Location 2, indicated within the yellow lines. The area outlined in red is Location 1 where physical clearance is currently underway. The lines may take a moment to load due to the size of the image.


  • Project updates

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    The clearance area under consideration in this project is divided into 2 locations:

    • Location 1: A 15-kilometre section of the Ashley River from Ashley Gorge (about 536ha)
    • Location 2: An 8-kilometre section of the Ashley River, from the end of Location 1 to the Okuku confluence and approximately 7.5 km upstream in the Okuku River to just west of the Grey River confluence (about 140 ha).

    In March 2021 we sprayed the Location 1 clearance area with herbicide and on 31 May we started the physical clearance of vegetation at Location 1. In this area whole trees with trunks down to approximately 100 mm diameter are being removed. Trees immediately adjacent to active streams, smaller trees, stumps and brushweeds are not being removed.

    Future physical clearance of trees will be limited to those left which currently adjoin active braids. As the braids move in future, these trees may be subject to removal to improve flow capacity of the riverbed. Other regrowth will be controlled by ground and aerial spraying.

    The next clearance is planned for Location 2 lower in the Ashley River and in the Okuku River, but precise areas have not yet been identified. We are now writing to all adjoining landowners to seek their feedback on the nominal proposed clearance area. Clearance will involve a mix of aerial spraying in densely vegetated areas and physical clearance with trees removed by cutting and extraction.

  • Why are we doing this?

    Flood protection

    The Ashley River/Rakahuri is a key feature of the North Canterbury landscape and one that poses a major flood risk to the local community living on its floodplain. For this project, costing about $1 million, we are planning to remove exotic vegetation (mainly willow and brush weeds) which is currently choking a 21 kilometre section of the river between Ashley Gorge and the Okuku River confluence, and in the Okuku River. Left unchecked this vegetation is a flood and erosion risk, occupying the channel and forcing flood waters towards farmland. Weed growth can also contribute to the loss of aquatic habitats and nesting areas for native birds.

    Protection and restoration of our braided rivers

    Braided Rivers are a precious and iconic part of the Canterbury environment. We are prioritising the protection and restoration of their unique values as part of our Braided River Revival/Whakahaumanu Ngā Awa ā Pākihi work. As a result of the introduction and invasion of weeds, predators, and human activities, braided rivers and their bird species, plants, native fish and insects are under threat. Through this project in the Ashley River/Rakahuri, and others across the region, we are working on the restoration of our rivers normal braided character, which will in turn will enhance a range of natural biodiversity values, including natural braided river habitats.

Page last updated: 13 October 2021, 15:01