Freshwater Ecology Research Group
The Mackenzie Project - Overview
Agriculture is an important land use in Canterbury and recent land use intensification has resulted in increased pressures on our waterways. Canterbury’s lowland waterways include modified streams as well as extensive drainage and water race networks. These waterways support productive use of land as well as being home to many native and mahinga kai freshwater species. Often these uses and values conflict. For example, high-intensity farming can increase sediment and nutrient inputs to waterways reducing the ability for freshwater fauna to thrive and degrading overall ecosystem health. We are researching riparian management and stream rehabilitation strategies to offset negative impacts, improve management and support diverse, healthy freshwater ecosystems.
Our aims are to:
1) Enhance the effectiveness of riparian management and thereby to reduce the impacts of sediments and contaminants on Canterbury waterways;
2) Develop and test in-stream rehabilitation tools;
3) Develop demonstration sites, which can showcase these rehabilitation methods in the field, and
4) Inform water resource management and decision-making on local, regional and international scales.
Our project is divided into two phases:
The Ashburton-based Mackenzie Charitable Foundation was formed in 1976 by brothers Alan and Don Mackenzie, who were both successful farmers in mid-Canterbury. A key purpose of the foundation is to focus on development of the science and practice of agriculture. The Mackenzie Charitable Foundation has funded the Freshwater Ecology Research Group for 10 years to research the effectiveness of riparian management (2008 – 2013) and to trial management tools and strategies to improve ecosystem health in agricultural waterways (2013 – 2018).