Find guidance and planning tools to apply for approval of development projects that may affect native lizards or frogs.

New Zealand’s native lizards and frogs are protected species. Before any development can begin on land where they’re found, you must have DOC approval and hold a Wildlife permit.

Development projects that may require these include work to clear vegetation, landscaping, any construction or road building.

How to apply

To apply for DOC approval you will need to:

  • prepare a management plan
  • include details of all mitigation approaches and tools
  • fill in interacting with wildlife form 9a
  • if intending to relocate species, request and complete a translocation form (9b)
  • submit your applications by email or post (details on form)

Apply for your permit well before your project is due to start. To download forms, find out processing times or request a pre-application meeting see our interacting with wildlife page.

The below provides some guidance on what your management plan should include. We’ve also provided guidance on tools to mitigate effects, such as catching and moving lizards (salvage).

Writing a lizard and frog management plan

A lizard and frog management plan is a site-specific plan that identifies potential risks to these species and steps to manage them. 

They must compile with environmental legislation, including the Resource Management Act (RMA) and the Wildlife Act.

The below will help you prepare a management plan. This is based on the DOC’s Lizard Technical Advisory group downloadable template:

Download DOC's template and model guide for producing lizard management plans (PDF,  1,813K)

Step 1: Provide background and plan goals

In your plan, you must provide background on the site development work and how it might affect lizard and frog populations. Include:

  • the development type
  • the location
  • relevant ecological values and context
  • the stage the project is at
  • relevant consents, concessions and/or permit conditions.

Once you have provided background, define the goals and objectives of your plan. Write these using the SMART approach (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound).

Aim to:

  • balance the impact of development work with mitigation efforts 
  • achieve no loss of lizards or frogs at the site.

Step 2: Describe lizard and frog species and survey methods

Provide information on lizards and frogs and their habitat found during site assessment and desktop literature surveys.

Information to provide on species 


  • a species list
  • the conservation status of each
  • DOC's Herpetofauna Atlas (aka Bioweb Herpetofauna) listing for each 
  • maps and photographs of habitats
  • the habitat’s ecological significance (as per local Regional Policy Statement and District Plan criteria)

Information to provide on surveys

Describe each survey and search efforts methods including:

  • the rationale for targeted areas
  • personnel
  • weather
  • search hours (by night and day)
  • time of year

Step 3: Detail potential effects and mitigation strategies

To cover potential project effects, you must detail the actual and potential effects of the project to lizards, frogs and their habitat. All effects as per Section 31 of the Resource Management Act (1991) must be accounted for. 


  • all proposed or consented development activities
  • their likely effects
  • their duration (separating temporary and ongoing)

Once you’ve detailed the effects, detail the opportunities you have to mitigate them and the measures you’ll take. Avoiding lizards, frogs or their habitat is not a viable approach.

Also detail any residual effects not covered by these steps, what you’ll do if they’re not effective or if you encounter lizards unexpectedly.

Mitigation measures can include:

  • habitat restoration using remedial planting or rock placement
  • removal and control of woody weeds
  • predator control
  • lizard salvage transfer (see more below)
  • research and/or post-release salvage monitoring.

Step 4: Explain the reporting process

Explain the steps you’ll take to report to the relevant consent authority, DOC or both. 

Include your recommendations for the conditions of consent based on the reporting and resource requirements.

Write a brief evaluation including any recommendations on the intended outcomes of your plan, followed by your references.  

Tools to mitigate development impacts on lizards and frogs

We’ve provided technical guidance on tools to avoid or minimise project effects on lizards and frogs. More will be added below as they become available.

Lizard salvage and transfer

Lizard salvage is a relatively new practice in New Zealand and no research yet exists to show if this tool will be effective in our context.

Experienced herpetologists have instead used their knowledge to devise nine principles to follow. Each principle should be reviewed and followed as detailed in the guide below:

Key principles for lizard salvage and transfer in New Zealand (PDF, 5,714K)


For more information or assistance with your application, contact our Hamilton office

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