Crossland, A. (2020). Linwood Paddocks Drains: Maintenance and wildlife management considerations. Christchurch City Council.
This report is an updated version of previous habitat management recommendations for the Linwood Paddocks written in 2013 and 2016. Overall, this report confirms that the Linwood Paddocks are a highly valuable habitat for bird life, supporting 13 threatened and at-risk species. Tall grass cover at the site supports both a range of nesting waterbirds throughout the year and a sizable population of Southern Grass Skink.
According to this report, vegetation removal, mowing, and other drain maintenance disturbs breeding by inadvertently destroying nests or by causing adult birds to panic and abandon or avoid their nests. Removing host vegetation can also render potential habitats unsuitable for nesting or leave nests exposed to predators and adverse weather. Consequently, the report recommended that in the Linwood Paddocks and around waterways like Lovetts and Charlesworth Drains, maintenance should be ‘relaxed’ to a single annual cut during the non-breeding window between March 1st and June 30th. It recommended that any cutting outside this period should only be done if drainage impediments arise, and that they must be first checked off by an ornithologist. The report also stated that if drains and their surrounds are allowed to become tidal, then indigenous saltmarsh vegetation is likely to colonise, which does not need mowing at all.