Catchment management

Managing freshwater at a catchment level

Catchments are areas of land that drain water from the top of surrounding hills down into a river, lake, an estuary or the open coast.

What happens on land in a catchment can impact on water quality in the river, and ultimately our coast. It can also affect the amount of water in rivers and lakes.

Catchment-scale management can be an effective way to improve fresh and coastal water, but it’s expensive and time-consuming (and not always necessary).

We’ve focussed our efforts on the high-priority catchments to create more localised management approaches.

Catchment plans – local solutions

We have worked with communities in several ‘priority’ catchments in Northland to develop catchment plans to better manage freshwater.

Local catchment groups (made up of representatives from tangata whenua, community, industry, district councils, Department of Conservation and Northland Fish and Game Council) developed these catchment plans that focus on freshwater management.

Read the catchment plans

Ngunguru catchment group is working on its erosion and sediment management plan. 

The catchment plans are non-statutory documents. However, the plans do identify localised rules that have been included in catchment specific sections of the Proposed Regional Plan for Northland. 

Find the Proposed Regional Plan for Northland

Find out more about freshwater policy

We also work with local communities ‘on the ground’ through a range of other projects – for example we have sought and received government money to work with communities on water quality improvements for selected dune lakes, the Hātea River and Northern Wairoa River 

Find key documents for our priority catchments in our Resource Library

Catchment groups

Find out more about these priority catchments.

Mangere catchment is a mostly low-lying area of intensive agriculture.
Doubtless Bay catchment is one of the most important recreational areas in Northland.
Whangārei Harbour Catchment is located on the south-east coast of Northland.
The Waitangi catchment flows eastwards to the Waitangi estuary where it joins the Bay of Islands.
Poutō catchment includes around 50 dune lakes over 1 hectare in size.
Ngunguru catchment consists of a range of land uses and activities including production forestry.
The Hātea catchment covers 4,470 hectares of the greater harbour catchment.