A wetland is an area of land covered in, or saturated by, water. They support natural ecosystems of plants and animals that are adapted to wet conditions. Wetlands are useful to filter sediments and nutrients before they can enter waterways. They help with waterway flow during dry weather and periods of high rainfall and provide habitats for native wildlife.
Benefits of wetland planting
The benefits of protecting wetlands include:
- filtering mechanism to reduce the rate and amount of sediment, nutrients and bacteria entering waterways
- habitat for native fish, insects, birds and plants
- slowing water flow within a catchment during high rainfall
- providing a water source to maintain flow to waterways during dry weather.
Planting trees can be a part of restoring wetlands but must be carefully done by planting only wetland species and not altering the flow regime (amount of water).
Before you start restoring a wetland, develop a site plan and answer the following questions:
- What is there now (plan to protect existing plants first)?
- What was there?
- What would you like to see there?
- What do you need to remove (for example, weed species)?
- What are your aims (for example, improving water quality, restoring biodiversity or beautification)?
- What effect will your activities have on upstream and downstream properties?
- Are there neighbours or community groups you can work with?
- Can you get advice from your council?
The Wetland Restoration handbook describes in detail how to restore wetlands.
Wetland restoration: A handbook for New Zealand freshwater systems – Manaaki Whenua
Te Reo o te Repo: The voice of the wetland highlights a range of mahi (work) undertaken by iwi (tribes) and hapu (subtripes) to increase the health and wellbeing of their repo (wetlands).
Te Reo o te Repo: The voice of the wetland – Manaaki Whenua
Many regional councils have wetland restoration guides and factsheets.
Council maps and websites – Local Government New Zealand
Environment Canterbury's video talks about the Tuataepatu Lagoon restoration.