Introduction

Project River Recovery does research and monitoring to build knowledge of the natural heritage values in braided river systems.

Project River Recovery does research and monitoring to build knowledge of the natural heritage values in braided river systems.

Completed research and monitoring projects

Cat predating on banded dotterel.
Cameras caught this cat with an adult
banded dotterel / turiwhatu in its mouth

Video predator study

Project River Recovery carried out a five-year video camera study to determine the causes of nest failure for three braided river bird species – banded dotterel/turiwhatu, black stilt/kakī and black-fronted tern/tarapirohe.

This study confirmed that introduced predators – particularly feral cats, ferrets and hedgehogs – are the main cause of nest failures for these braided river birds.

Plant survey

Project River Recovery has completed a survey of the plant communities in braided riverbeds in the upper Waitaki Basin.

The aims of the study were to:

  • Describe the plant communities representative of these habitats;
  • Establish the environmental factors influencing their distribution and structure;
  • Identify nationally threatened plant species and communities of regional or national significance;
  • Identify threats to the braided river plant communities.

The results are currently being analysed.

Current research and monitoring projects

Checking invertebrate pitfall trap.
Checking pitfall trap in the Tasman
riverbed invertebrate survey

Invertebrate survey

A pilot survey of terrestrial invertebrates in the Tasman River is underway. It aims to develop efficient sampling methods for invertebrate communities in riverbeds. A cost-effective method will allow us to assess terrestrial invertebrate communitiies in other braided river systems in the upper Waitaki Basin.

Of the specimens identified to date, the greatest diversity of species has been in the taxonomic orders Diptera (flies) and Hymenoptera (bees and wasps), whereas the most abundant order is the Collembola (springtails). Four new terrestrial invertebrate species have been found so far - a fly, a bee, a bug and a beetle.

Native fish monitoring

Project River Recovery is monitoring long-term population change of the threatened upland longjaw galaxias at three sites in the Tasman and Hopkins rivers. The sites are checked annually and the fish are identified, counted and have their body length measured.

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