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Programme overview

Wetlands are defined as “permanently or intermittently wet areas, shallow water, and land water margins that support a natural ecosystem of plants and animals that are adapted to wet conditions” (RMA). It is estimated, that only 2.3% of the original wetland extent is estimated to remain in the Wellington region (Ausseil et al. 2003).

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 requires that “there is no further loss of extent of natural inland wetlands, their values are protected, and their restoration is promoted.” Greater Wellington Regional Council’s (GWRC) proposed Natural Resources Plan (pNRP) contains policies and rules and methods intended to achieve this protection and improve the health of the regions remaining wetlands.

GWRC also has a Key Native Ecosystem (KNE) programme which aims to improve ecological outcomes at selected high value ecological sites, which includes 47 of the region’s wetlands.

The aim of the State of the Environment Wetland Health Monitoring Programme is to monitor the state and trend of wetlands in the region to determine the effectiveness of GWRC policies and interventions through the KNE programme and other wetland management programmes.


Monitoring objectives

The work described here aims to monitor:

  1. the state and trend of wetland health in the Wellington region,
  2. the effectiveness of the proposed Natural Resources Plan (pNRP) policies, rules and methods, and
  3. the outcomes of management at selected wetland sites.

Monitoring networks

The 150 wetlands included in the programme are a selection of the 211 wetlands scheduled in the proposed Natural Resources Plan. It includes all 14 wetlands that are designated ‘Outstanding”, 47 “Significant” wetlands which are managed by the KNE programme and a random selection of the remaining “Significant” wetlands spread across the five whaitua (main river catchment).

Over the summer of 2019/2020, 30 wetlands within the Eastern Wairarapa were sampled taking the total sampled to date to 120 wetlands. The summer of 2020/2021 will sample another 30 wetlands from throughout the region and complete the first full round of sampling.

Drag and scroll on the map to move and zoom to areas of interest, hover over site circles and whaitua to see more information, and use the top right toggles to switch between showing ‘All monitored sites’ or only ‘KNE sites’ managed by the KNE programme.


This web report may be cited as:

GWRC 2020. Wetland health monitoring 2019/20. Greater Wellington Region Council. Available at: https://www.gw.govt.nz/annual-monitoring-reports/2020/wetland-health