Waikanae River Environment
The Waikanae River is one of the distinctive natural features which draws people to the Waikanae area and is highly valued by the local community. The river and its estuary are ecologically important, providing habitat for native fish and a range of bird species. The river is also an important ecological corridor, linking the protected Tararua ranges, with the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve, and Kapiti Marine Reserve, with Kapiti Island nature reserve located directly offshore.
The river also has regionally significant recreation values which are enhanced by its proximity to residential areas, the restoration and other environmental enhancement work that has been carried out and relatively high water quality, even in the lower reaches of the river. Walking, running, cycling and horse riding are all popular activities, along with fishing, swimming and other water sports.
However, as well as being a great asset, there are times when the river floods, causing considerable damage and cost to the community. The Waikanae Floodplain Management Plan has been prepared to address flood risk form the Waikanae River.
As a part of the floodplain management planning process, environmental values associated with the river were identified and the Waikanae River Environmental Strategy was developed. It presents the community's long-term vision for the Waikanae River and its corridor and describes how this vision can be achieved. It also provides guidance for aligning flood risk management activities with restoration activities in the river corridor.