Threats to wetlands

Threats to New Zealand's remaining wetlands are mostly the result of human activities including:

Wetland in the Te Anau area. Photo: C Rance.
Wetland in the Te Anau area

  • Sand and gravel extraction causing changes in water level and access for weeds or damage to existing vegetation.
  • Reclamation of lake and river margins, lagoons and estuaries and draining of farm swamps, reducing wetland areas.
  • Excess run-off of sediment and nutrients which can pollute wetlands.
  • Plant and animal pest invasion.
  • Stock grazing in surrounding catchments and wetlands themselves. This damages vegetation, decreases soil stability and contributes to pollution.
  • Loss of natural character, i.e. the natural appearance of wetlands in the landscape.
  • Careless recreation practices including misuse of jet-skiing, hunting, kayaking, power boating and whitebaiting. Carelessness disturbs plant and animal life and may destroy parts of the physical wetland environment.
  • Forest harvesting close to wetlands may damage wetland vegetation and cause erosion.
  • Loss of vegetation in surrounding catchment which allows excess sediment to run directly into wetlands.
  • Inappropriate use of surrounding land in a catchment, for example, pine forest drawing water away from ground water systems leaving depleted water supply, or poorly managed farming practices causing sediment and/or fertiliser run-off.
  • Drainage of wetlands for urban or rural development.

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DOC's 24 hour emergency hotline:

0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468)

Call to report sick or injured wildlife, and whale or dolphin strandings.