Riparian management

What exactly is a riparian margin or strip? In essence, riparian margins are narrow strips of land beside waterways and around wetlands. They are vitally important since:

  • They act as a buffer between waterways and wetlands and the adjacent land.
  • They are the single most important structural and functional element in a catchment ecosystem.
  • All water falling on a catchment as precipitation passes through a riparian margin before entering a waterway or wetland.
  • The importance of riparian margins, far exceed the relatively minor area of land they occupy in most catchments.

The facts about Riparian Margins

Riparian margins are of key importance to the health of wetland, stream and river ecosystems, because they:

  • dissipate flood energy,
  • store surface and groundwater, 
  • recharge groundwater,
  • contribute to stream base flows,
  • host wetlands and spring-fed streams,
  • moderate water temperatures,
  • reduce erosion,
  • filter farm nutrients, sediment and microbes,
  • act as transport corridors for fish, wildlife, energy, minerals and sediment,
  • provide a diversity of habitats and
  • support a large diversity of plant, wildlife and fish species.

Where you come in

The 'before and after' of riparian fencing speaks for itself. With better run-off management, nutrient capture and habitat enhancement, riparian management is something we are keen to help you do. Here's how...

Waimotu Stream just after fencingThis section of the Waimotu Stream was fenced using Waiau Trust funding. It shows the area just after it was fenced.

Waimotu stream riparian strip 5 years after fencing.This shows just how quickly fencing can re-establish important riparian strip. Just 5 years after fencing and planting we see a valuable resource being replaced.