River Management Guideline

Northland Regional Council has overall responsibility for managing rivers and streams in the Northland region. It is also the owner, manager and operator of several flood control schemes:

  • Awanui River
  • Kaeo River
  • Hopua te Nihotetea Detention Dam, Whangarei

These schemes are funded by targeted rates. NRC also undertakes maintenance works on other rivers, such as the Kaihu River, that are funded by targeted rates.

The Northland Regional Council Rivers and Natural Hazards team has the role of maintaining the scheme assets and planning and implementing new works. When carrying out this work, consideration is given to river and stream systems as a whole, providing a co-ordinated approach to what happens on the ground. This includes:

  • Proactive management
  • Working with landowners, agencies and interested parties
  • Enhancement of our environment

As part of our commitment to working with the community, these guidelines have been developed which set out the river management responsibilities of landowners and Northland Regional Council.

River management benefits

Good river management practice helps protect your property and land from damage. Effective river management reduces:

  • erosion - protecting your valuable soil
  • sedimentation – improving water quality
  • damage from flooding – saving you money

Good river management also improves recreational opportunities, swimming and habitat for aquatic plants and animals i.e. whitebait, eel and native fish.

Rivers also hold cultural, recreational and aesthetic value. They are a source of water and are home to a variety of aquatic animals and plants.

By managing rivers and streams we help protect our quality of life.

Find out more about managing rivers and streams and the benefits to you and the environment.

Good river management

Aspects of good river management include:

  • maintaining vegetation
  • clearing obstructions and preventing plants and other objects, such as logs,
    from blocking waterways
  • gravel management in some areas
  • erosion control
  • pest control

Working together

Northland Regional Council is responsible for the overall River and Catchment Management in the Northland region.

Landowners are responsible for normal maintenance of rivers and streams on and around their property.

By working together, Northland Regional Council and landowners can ensure all responsibilities are met and our rivers are healthy and well managed.


Kaihu riverworks.

How we can help you

Information, advice and co-ordination

Northland Regional Council provides advice and information to landowners on good river management practices.

The removal of obstructions

Northland Regional Council undertakes the removal of major blockages and obstructions that effect public i

nfrastructure beyond normal landowner maintenance on a prioritised basis.

Erosion control

Free advice and information is also available to help landowners manage river bank erosion on individual properties.

Gravel management

The Regional Water and Soil Plan for Northland allows for gravel removal from rivers in certain circumstances. Please contact the Northland Regional Council for advice and a copy of the relevant rules before undertaking gravel removal. Find out more about gravel management and the benefits to you and the environment.

Landowner responsibilities

You can help look after the health of our rivers by:

  • managing stock to keep them out of rivers and other waterways
  • planting vegetation to protect and stabilise river banks
  • maintaining vegetation to prevent waterway obstruction
  • managing animal and plant pests

Find out more about how Northland Regional Council's financial assistance initiatives may be able to help you manage rivers and streams in your area.