Project Title: Restoring a Tributary of the Selwyn / Waikirikiri River - Canterbury

Funding Close Date: 1 Nov 2019



Metres Planted:
708 m

NZD $45307.05

Location: North Canterbury

GPS Coordinates: -43.667727, 172.378482

Project Cost: NZD $45307.05

Cost per Metre: NZD $64

Metres to be planted: 875m

Field Partner: Environment Canterbury

Project ID: SI6

Project Description:

project Update: in come the troops

Great news! The Student Volunteer army are coming on board to provide the human power needed for site preparation and planting. This reduces the amount we need to raise to $44000 meaning that we are now over half way to our new fundraising goal.  We will be planting in May so really need to get more funds in so we can purchase the plants. We have already been on site preparing the ground for the plants to go in and we can’t wait to share our progress with all our supporters.


The headwaters of the Selwyn/ Waikirikiri River are in the Rockwood Range, in the Southern Alps. It flows across the Canterbury Plains, passing Glentunnel and Greendale before emptying into Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora. The river is the largest tributary of Lake Ellesmere.

All of the springs and streams which feed into the Selwyn/ Waikirikiri River make up the catchment. The health of the catchment impacts the health of the Selwyn River and Lake Ellesmere below.

Over the last 30 years, the health of the Selwyn and its catchment has declined. Water quality at the swimming hole at Coes Ford is now often unsafe for swimming.

The river once supported some of the best trout fishing in the world. In 1962, it supported a run of 14,000 brown trout. Today, the estimate is around 500. Climate change, water takes and land intensification have contributed to this, including a loss of habitat in the spawning streams, such as Silverstream.

We will be working to restore a section of Silverstream on a dairy farm to a more natural state. The project will contribute to cleaner water for swimmers at Coes Ford and more fish for anglers on the Selwyn.


Hi, I’m Emily. I work with the Water & Wildlife Habitat Trust. We are a charitable trust with a focus on education and habitat protection.

Over the next couple of years we will be working with a local dairy farmer to restore 875 metres of Silverstream that runs through their farm.

We will be transforming a waterway that has been managed like a ‘drain’ back into a thriving, living stream. We will reshape the banks so they are a more natural shape. We will use boulders, wood and gravel to recreate the pools and riffles that are so important to stream life.

We will plant 2040 native trees and plants along the stream. As these plants grow, the water will be shaded by the grasses and tall forest trees we will plant on its banks. This shade will cool the water and stop problem water weeds – this means no more diggers in the stream! We expect to see more native fish and more spawning trout at the site.

Run-off from the land will be filtered by the native plants which will limit the amount of bacteria coming into the stream. This will help to improve water quality at the popular swimming hole at Coes Ford, a source of tension in the community.

The landowners have owned the farm for three years and want to improve the stream and help the fishery. They are contributing by putting up the fencing and helping with site preparation.


You can support this project by making a donation today. Big or small – any amount helps!

We’re crowdfunding to cover the costs of reshaping the banks of the stream and adding in boulders, wood and gravel to recreate the pools and riffles that fish love.

Our fundraising goal also includes the costs of prepping the site for planting, the plants themselves, and planting and maintenance to ensure the plants thrive. 15% of the funds raised go to Million Metres to help cover their administration of the website and fundraising support.

We’re aiming to plant the site in spring 2018 or autumn 2019.

We anticipate that the planting can be done in one planting season. Maintenance will then be carried out over three years to give the plants the best chance of success.


The project is part of a wider project to restore the entire Silverstream catchment.  It includes Snake Creek, McGraths stream and Silverstream. 

The Water & Wildlife Habitat Trust has restored the springs at Snake Creek and the top 1 km of Snake Creek.

Along Silverstream, landowners working with the Canterbury Waterway Rehabilitation Experiment (CAREX) team at the University of Canterbury and the DOC/Fonterra Living Water Partnership have restored the springs, and the kilometre of stream between the springs and our reach. Some work has also been done near the confluence of Silverstream with the Selwyn/ Waikirikiri River.

We will continue working our way through the Silverstream catchment as opportunities arise.

Progress Photos: