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Monitoring a Wetland

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Monitoring a wetland can be done for a variety of reasons and involves a range of different activities.

Why monitor a wetland?

Monitoring a wetland is a way of seeing how healthy it is. It can be done to:

  • improve streams for fish
  • follow the effects of harmful human activities
  • see what happens to a wetland if such activities stop
  • check changes after planting at the edge of a wetland
  • make a wetland look better.

How it is done

When people monitor a wetland they take samples and notes about:

  • habitat e.g. water temperature and clarity
  • biology e.g. what animals and plants are there.
  • A wetland monitoring kit can be used to help with the observing, measuring, collecting and recording.

Insect sampling

Invertebrates are often used to show stream health because their numbers change if the water changes. They are easy and cheap to collect.

A wetland that has a wide range of invertebrates is usually healthy.

Taking action!

Once the waterway has been monitored, it is time for action. This could involve:

  • using the information you have collected to help plan activities to improve the wetland
  • asking for help from other people
  • finding out about native freshwater planting
  • making decisions about how to monitor the wetland in the future
  • talking to local Tangata Whenua.


Audio Māori keywords: 

Be a wetland monitor: Take a copy of the Wetland Habitat Survey - Word (58k) | PDF (119k) - and give your local wetland a score.

Managing Threats to Wetlands

Ō Tū Wharekai


Hamish Stevens from Fish and Game uses a net to catch invertebrates to see how healthy this stream is. Image: LEARNZ.

You can find out a lot about the health of a wetland by looking at the number and type of invertebrates found in it. What is the name of this invertebrate? Image: LEARNZ.

Clear water is a sign of good water quality. How is water quality measured? Image: LEARNZ.

Brad Edwards from DOC takes a water sample to test its water quality. What do you think he will be measuring? Image: LEARNZ.

Removing weeds and planting natives alongside wetlands is a good way to improve water quality. How do plants affect water quality? Image: LEARNZ.