Wetlands have numerous positive impacts.

As wetlands slow down the flow of water, sediment and nutrients (ie. nitrogen and phosphorus) drop out of the water and are captured in the wetland. This stops these contaminants travelling further downstream into our creeks, streams and rivers. This improves the water quality for all - invertebrates, insects, fish, birds, dogs & humans.   

These wetlands increase the amount of habitat available for all New Zealand’s valued species. Wetlands that Southland hunters have created are well-known to hold koura (freshwater crayfish), tuna (eels), inanga, smelt and select species of galaxiids and bullies. Many waterfowl and wading birds, such as teal, scaup, cranes, pukeko and shags, as well as numerous invertebrate species that are often overlooked. Along with our treasured gamebirds – grey/mallard duck, paradise shelduck, Australasian shoveller and black swans.

There is also the growing realisation that wetlands are a necessary tool in flood protection. Wetlands hold back flood water and ‘flatten the curve’ - markedly reducing the pressure on our flood protection works.

Protecting, restoring, and creating wetlands benefits our sports fish and gamebirds, our anglers and hunters, and the wider community.


Want help and guidance creating your own gamebird hunting site?

Southland Fish & Game staff are actively involved in surveying sites for the construction of wetlands on private land.

Staff will meet on site and listen to what the landowner wants to achieve. As we have been doing this for a while now, we might offer some fresh ideas or options.

Using a laser level, a water level will be set and marked out so the landowner can see the area to be ‘wetted.’ The in and out flows will be designed to cater for flood events, and we will ensure that there is no adverse impact on upstream drainage. 

From there, we can be as hands on or off as you want. We can manage the entire build using contractors with a proven record of quality work. We can use a drone to capture 'before' and 'after' aerial images, allowing you to track the project's progress visually.

Southland Fish & Game has a subsidy available to contribute towards the construction cost. We do this in recognition of a) the added habit value the new wetland will provide and b) the positive impacts that will spill (metaphorically!) beyond your boundary fence.

We can also provide carex secta plants to get your site going. 

These services are offered free and there is no obligation to go through with it, so please enquire


Dam Building ‘Permitted Activity’ conditions in Southland

If your site meets all the criteria below, it is considered a ‘Permitted Activity’. This means you don’t need to apply for a resource consent, saving you time and money.  

  • Catchment is less than 500 hectares.
  • Impoundment volume is less than 20 000 cubic metres of water.
  • Dam is less than 4 metres at the tallest part.
  • Allows for fish passage.
  • Does not impose significant risk to downstream assets or infrastructure.
  • Does not impede drainage to adjoining landowners upstream.

For greater detail see Sections 55A & 60 in the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan 2018.

There are special conditions for earthworks in existing natural wetlands, so contact the office to discuss these specifically.

Inspiration - Before & After Gallery   

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