Date: 10 June 2011
DOC and Meridian Energy scooped first prize for environmentally responsible large organisation last night for their collaboration on Project River Recovery.
The prize, presented at the Ministry for the Environment’s Green Ribbon Awards, recognised the outstanding contribution the project has made to restore the Upper Waitaki Basin ecosystem.
kakī/black stilt chick
Project River Recovery’s goal is to research, restore, and protect the unique braided riverbeds and wetlands of the South Island’s Upper Waitaki Basin. The area supports a large number of rare flora and fauna, which are under threat from introduced predators, habitat modification and declining water quality from changing land use.
An intensive programme of weed and predator control, wetland construction, research and community education over two decades has had a significantly positive impact on the area. The project has focused on a wide range of threatened bird, invertebrate, lizard, freshwater and plant species, and detailed scientific information is now available to the public on these previously poorly understood ecosystems.
“New Zealand’s spectacular braided rivers are home to an array of rare and remarkable species from wrybills to kakī,” says Chris Woolmore, DOC’s Project River Recovery Programme Manger for Te Manahuna Area Office in Twizel.
“It has been great to see such positive results for the area’s outstanding braided river biodiversity coming from this collaboration with Meridian and the community. It’s proof of what people and businesses can achieve when they get involved in conserving their local treasures.”
“I am very proud of Meridian’s 20 year involvement in Project River Recovery,” says Guy Waipara, Meridian’s General Manager of External Relations.
“Projects like this require a huge amount of work and commitment from a wide range of people. Crucial to its success has been our partnership with DOC and the drive and commitment of the many people involved.
“Together we want to make sure these iconic places can be enjoyed by Kiwis in the years to come.”
The project is the largest and longest running of its kind in New Zealand. It is funded by Meridian and implemented by DOC. Local district councils have also been involved, along with a number of landowners, schools, universities, and researchers.
The engineering and infrastructure management services company Downer were equal first prize winners in the Environmentally Responsible Large Organisation category.