Crossland, A. (2003, March). Ecological values and wildlife opportunities of the lower Heathcote Valley floodplain. Christchurch City Council.
Commissioned by the Parks and Waterways Unit of the Christchurch City Council (CCC) in 2003, the purpose of this report was to provide an overview of ecological values in the lower Heathcote Valley Floodplain and to outline opportunities for wildlife as part of the proposed valley redevelopment. To achieve this, the report aimed to define existing and potential ecological values in the area and how they could be enhanced and restored, to identify which opportunities should be progressed and where, and to further develop previous ecological reports. It also aimed to develop a database of past and present photos of the area to monitor ecological changes to the landscape over time.
This report drew from and built upon a range of information to summarise historical ecological habitat and birdlife changes in the valley from the 1850s to 2003. Such information included the 1998 report by Andrew Crossland called “Heathcote Valley Rezoning and Opportunities for Wildlife”, land use rezoning developments, and wildlife monitoring programmes. Overall, 10 types of habitats were identified in the lower Heathcote Valley Floodplain, including river channels, mudflats, saltmarshes, salt meadows, wet grasslands, ephemeral ponds, permanent ponds, ditches, drains, and streams. Although the floodplain had a lower species richness and density than most other parts of Te Ihutai, it retained important swamp bird habitat and was identified as a core breeding and roosting location for wetland birds. Recommendations in the report to restore and enhance wetland sites in the area included restoring existing saltmarsh habitats, establishing new wetland and coastal bush sites, safeguarding and improving breeding and roosting sites, and mitigating disturbance and edge effects.