Saving the streams

The Council is committed to replanting freshwater habitats and monitoring our streams.

Threats to freshwater

Freshwater restoration is a priority in Wellington as we have lost 99 percent of our wetlands and most of our original streams are enclosed in pipes.

Our natural freshwater assets provide a vital home for hundreds of plants and animals and have delicately balanced ecosystems that need our support.

Pollution, physical barriers, and damage to Wellington streams threaten the rare fish and plants that live there.

Discover nature in Wellington – Freshwater

Support for riparian planting

The banks of streams (riparian areas), are important for biodiversity. They slow down runoff and filter sediment before it reaches the stream. The plants growing there also provide shade for native fish that need cooler temperatures, and insects as a food source.

The Council provides support for community restoration groups that focus on riparian planting of streams, providing plants as well as guidance.

Surveying what we have

The Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) have undertaken a baseline survey that assesses the ecosystem health in Wellington City urban streams. A range of open and piped streams have been surveyed to assess:

  • habitat condition
  • macroinvertebrate community health (insects, worms, and snails)
  • and fish populations.

Monitoring our streams

With our baseline survey complete, the next steps involve monitoring our freshwater. With this information we are developing a long-term freshwater monitoring programme in Wellington City.

Assessing fish barriers

Barriers in streams are a serious threat to the well-being of Wellington's freshwater dwellers. In January 2020, we began the assessment of fish barriers in our streams.

A priority is to restore fish passage throughout the catchments that are still largely in a natural state. We will look at ways to remove or replace barriers that are healthier for the streams.

Reducing urban impact on streams

The Council will address land use and urban impacts on soil, water, and biodiversity within catchments as Wellington grows. Through planning and policy documents, the Council works as part of the Integrated Catchment Management Plans (ICMP) and the Whaitua process run by GWRC.

You can help

Keeping our water clean in Wellington takes a few simple steps.

Keep our water clean