Thursday, December 18, 2008

Travis Swamp, Christchurch - Wetland Restoration

toe toe and flax frame a view of the central lake in Travis Wetland

In the 1990s, responding to public pressure to save and restore the Travis Swamp wetland, the Christchurch City Council purchased 119 hectares of the swamp. Encroaching sub-division development threatened complete loss of the remaining remnant of wetland in the Christchurch area.

Over a 20-30 year period the land is to be restored to reflect the pre-European landscape that once dominated eastern Christchurch in which a wetland system developed behind a sand dune system near the Avon-Heathcote Estuary.

Birds on central lake, Travis Wetland.

Wetlands not only act as a biodiversity reservoir for plant and animal species, they serve important roles as sediment and nutrient traps, water storage, flood control, and buffers in climate change processes.

As part of the restoration process, a 2.5 hectare lake was excavated in the centre of the swamp to provide a habitat for both local and migratory bird species. A stream rings the wetland, acting as a moot to deter predators from entering the wetland. Extensive plantings of native plant and tree species have been undertaken to provide food sources for wildlife as well as to improve the water filtering and storage functions of the wetland.

Marshland on the northern edge of Travis Swamp.

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