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Last modified: 27 Oct 2020 9:43am

A man with short white hair and glasses stands in front of some bush

On a farm near Southbridge, two streams and some careful tending are helping bring back some of the region’s natural heritage.

The Inwood Farm is home to one of 71 Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) in Selwyn, where landowners and the Council work to protect and restore native biodiversity. In the case of Alison and Stuart Inwood this corridor of cabbage trees, flax, carex, ferns and other native vegetation along the banks of The Hei Hei and the Lee River which run through their farm.

The couple first began protecting the area in 2016 when they saw the opportunity for riparian plantings of locally sourced native species. The Council began supporting them through its Selwyn Natural Environment Fund in 2018 when an ecological survey showed the huge value of the area.

The plants provide food for native birds and insects, and protect and raise the water quality of the streams, providing a habitat for fish and other wildlife. It is hoped their care could encourage more native birds back to the Canterbury Plains.

The Council helps protect our natural environment both by working with landowners such as the Inwoods and by setting rules to protect it from inappropriate land use and development through the District Plan.

The Proposed District Plan, out for public consultation now, makes a number of changes to how the natural environment is protected. It identifies indigenous biodiversity areas, applying new rules for the clearance of indigenous vegetation and to protect the habitats of the crested grebe and Canterbury mudfish.

Listing of sites like the Inwood’s as SNAs in the Proposed Plan is voluntary. The Council works collaboratively with landowners to try and achieve long-term protection of SNAs and other areas of indigenous biodiversity.

The Proposed Plan also adds new rules to identify and protect our coastal environment, including the margins of Te Waihora/ Lake Ellesmere and adjusts the rules around areas identified as Outstanding Natural Landscapes or Visual Amenity Landscapes. You can find out more and make a submission until 5pm Friday 11 December at