Canterbury riparian

A riparian zone is the interface between land and a river or stream

Waterways include rivers, streams, creeks, drains, ponds, swamps and wetlands that go through or border a farm – basically anywhere that natural water runs or ponds. The area beside waterways that forms the connection between water and land is the riparian or waterway margin.

Riparian zones can be used to maintain and improve water quality. Once fenced and planted, they filter phosphorus, sediment and bacteria that leave the land as runoff. Healthy riparian zones will improve the health of your waterway.

Having a plan is the key to getting value for your money and doing it right the first time. Your riparian planting plan should cover the three steps of fencing, planting and maintaining your riparian zones.

An Environment Canterbury biodiversity officer or land management advisor can answer questions you have about fencing and riparian planting during a property visit. They can help develop riparian plans with you, tailored to your needs. It’s free and it’s the best way to find out what funding or support is available.





  • Improvements in water quality
  • Vegetation traps sediment
  • Reduction in water temperature
  • Filters water before entering stream
  • Minimises erosion 
  • Reduction of flood impacts
  • Provide food and cover and habitat for wildlife
  • Enhances landscape


PLANT NAME (T = threatened, R = rare)


Trees/Shrubs Grasses/Flaxes
 Coprosma propinqua, mingmingi  Apodasmia similis, oioi, jointed wire rush
 Coprosma robusta, karamu  Austroderia richardii, toetoe
 Cordyline australis, cabbage tree  Baumea rubiginosa New Zealand sedge
 Dacrycarpus dacrydioides, kahikatea, white pine  Bolboschoenus caldwellii purua, sedge
 Elaeocarpus hookerianus pökäkä  Bulbinella angustifolia Mäori onion
 Hebe salicifolia, koromiko  Carex buchananii, matirewa, cutty grass
 Leptospermum scoparium, manuka, tea tree  Carex flagellifera, mänia, tussock grass
 Lophomyrtus obcordata röhutu  Carex flaviformis pürei, yellow sedge 
 Mazus novae-zelandiae subsp. impolitus mazus   Carex geminata rautahi, cutty grass 
 Pittosporum tenuifolium, köhühu, black matipo  Carex maorica 
   Carex secta, pükio
   Carex solandri
   Carex virgata, swamp sedge
   Cyperus ustulatus, toetoewhatu, giant umbrella sedge
   Eleocharis acuta, sharp spike sedge
   Juncus caespiticius wï, grass-leaved rush
   Juncus edgariae, wï, leafless rush
   Juncus pallidus wï, giant rush, leafless rush
   Juncus sarophorus wï
   Phormium tenax, harakeke, New Zealand flax
   Schoenoplectus pungens three square 
   Schoenoplectus validus lake clubrush 
   Schoenus pauciflorus 
   Zotovia avenacea pätïtï, bush rice grass