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Managing Threats to Wetlands

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The Department of Conservation works carefully with people to help Ō Tū Wharekai.

Threats to wetlands

  • removal of water for irrigation and stock
  • low water quality from farm run-off
  • Nutrient run off from farmland into waterways
  • weeds such as broom and Russell lupins
  • didymo and other freshwater pests
  • damage from vehicles, rabbits, hares and stock
  • threats to native and at-risk species from predators.


  • recording plant, bird, lizard, invertebrate and fish numbers
  • keeping an eye on the above species
  • listing cultural values and setting up a taonga (treasure) monitoring plan
  • weed control
  • learning about bird breeding success and habitat use
  • fencing riparian areas
  • teaching people the value of wetlands
  • planning for sensible recreational use
  • ongoing pest control

Responsible recreation

The Ashburton Lakes are used for many different activities. It is important that people who use them and the surrounding areas follow the environmental care code:

  • protect plants and animals
  • remove rubbish
  • bury toilet waste more than 50 metres from waterways
  • keep streams and lakes clean
  • take care with fires
  • camp carefully
  • keep to the track
  • consider others
  • respect our cultural heritage
  • toitu te whenua (leave the land undisturbed).

Also Check, Clean, Dry all items before entering or moving between waterways to stop the spread of didymo.


Audio Māori keywords: 

Discuss this with your classmates: If risks to wetlands aren't managed, how might this affect me, my family, or my friends.

Wai Water is so Important

Monitoring a Wetland


Didymo is also known as ‘rock snot’. How can you stop the spread of didymo? Image: LEARNZ.

Predators are a threat to native and threatened wetland species. Can you name these pests? Image: LEARNZ.

Weeds are another threat to our wetlands. What weeds are pictured here? Image: LEARNZ.

Didymo is an invasive weed in waterways. How do you think it is spread? Image: LEARNZ.

DOC monitor both plant and animal species at Ō Tū Wharekai. What information do you think they gather? Image: LEARNZ.

Trapping is a way of reducing predator numbers. Find out if there is a community trapping programme near you. Image: LEARNZ.

Always follow the environmental care code. How many parts of this code do you know? Image: LEARNZ.