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Creating fish habitats

Innovative landscaping by Citycare Property is providing native fish with new habitats in Christchurch waterways and enhancing water quality.

In one project, the Landscapes Team built fish shelves as they replaced 100 metres of the timber-lined Sissons Drain in Papanui.

The shelves are a new test concept for the Christchurch City Council and it’s hoped the trial can be standardised for further stormwater drain upgrades, Project Manager Aaron Martin says.

The purpose of the shelves is to provide shade above the waterline for the fish in environments where there is no natural foliage or rocks overhanging the waterway.

In an adjacent area of the drain, the team also built and installed eel boxes for eels to shelter in as they’re unable to burrow into the bank in the drain as they usually would, Aaron says.

Another project was adding cobble clusters to a large section of the Ōpāwaho / Heathcote River in Somerfield, Cashmere, Beckenham and St Martins.

More than 6000 stones and boulders were placed at sites along the river to create the cobble clusters as part of the council’s riverbank improvement programme, Contract Manager Brent Cations says.    

The clusters give fish cover in the mid-channel of the river so they can hide during the day and come out to feed at night.

“It was challenging for the team to be working in the river and passers-by must have wondered what they were doing placing rocks in the water. Now they know,” he says.

While the cobble clusters are obvious now, over time they will become colonised by algae and hidden on the bottom of the river.

For more information see:

Sissons Drain before

Sissons Drain BEFORE

Sissons Drain after

Sissons Drain AFTER

Bluegill Bully with copyright

Bluegill Bully