Waterways in our region are interconnected. Groundwater aquifers, small streams and powerful rivers are all important to the health of our freshwater, environment, and our communities.

About our region’s streams, flood banks and floodplains

New Zealand was largely forested before humans arrived, which means our freshwater ecosystems are adapted to the high level of shading provided by intact bush.

Riparian plants provide an important connection between the aquatic and land environments. For example, insects on branches can fall into the water and are a good food source for fish and aquatic invertebrates.

The cool and dark environment prevents unnatural algae growth which depletes the water of oxygen needed by fish and invertebrates.  Riparian vegetation also promotes good water quality by filtering contaminants that would otherwise enter a waterway.

Streams and riparian areas (stream banks and floodplains) are important habitats, food sources and breeding areas for our native fish, inverterbates, and many other native animals.

Protecting and restoring riparian areas

Although the water seems to have a life of its own, most of the work to protect and restore these ecosystems happens on the land.

Protecting and restoring fish passage helps to protect our native migratory freshwater fish.

Knowing the rules around protecting waterways on your property - Learn more about the Essential Freshwater Package.

Whaitua committees are groups of local people tasked with recommending ways to maintain and improve the quality of our fresh water.

Greater Wellington helps landowners with restoring waterways on private land through offering expert advice on restoration, and subsidising the costs in some cases. Find out more about this support.

Pest plant control – harmful pest plants are spread from waterway to waterway by human activity. Find out more on our check, clean, dry page.

Updated July 26, 2022 at 4:26 PM

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