Fifteen years ago, Harts Creek, one of the key tributaries leading into Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, was in trouble. The stream was silting up, fish numbers had declined and cattle were grazing right down to the water margin.

Local fisherman Allan Fife was concerned. Back in the late 80s he’d been impressed with the world-class trout he and others had been able to net in Harts Creek and he had sadly watched the slow decline in stream conditions. In search of a solution he met with local farmer Peter Chamberlain, who in turn met with an Environment Canterbury representative.

It was decided to get local landowners together, to demonstrate to them that some of their actions were impacting on the stream and from there, the Harts Creek and Birdling’s Brook Streamcare Group was formed. Peter Chamberlain approached Environment Canterbury, and with support from the Department of Conservation and Selwyn District Council and the thirteen neighbouring landowners, extensive work has been carried out to fence and plant the creek.

A short video created by the Waihora Ellesmere Trust with the support of Environment Canterbury and the World Wildlife Fund has been produced to celebrate the success of the conservation group.

Harts Creek runs through the property of local farmer and poet Colin Patterson and fifteen years ago, he was hesitant about being involved in the restoration project.

“I knew it was a complex and expensive job but I was encouraged to think differently at the time so I got involved. One of the great successes of the project was electing Peter as chair. He recognised the significance of the creek running through his farm 20 years before we even started this. And I’m pleased to say it’s all worked very well and I’m pleased to have been a part of it. What the group has achieved to date has been very rewarding,” he says.

Fellow farmers and fisherman are also enthusiastic about the stream restoration project and the difference it has made to Harts Creek. Today the vegetation is lush, the water is clear and fish and birds have returned to the environment. It’s a testament to the fact that patience and perseverance do pay off.

You can watch the WET video of the Harts Creek restoration at:

Harts Creek restoration has been a great success.

Harts Creek restoration has been a great success.