This document describes the long-term vision, guiding principles and strategic approach for Project River Recovery.


Project River Recovery is a Department of Conservation (DOC) programme that aims to maintain and enhance river and wetland habitat, ecological communities and populations of indigenous animals and plants that use these habitats in the upper Waitaki Basin.

  • Project River Recovery is funded by Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy under a compensatory agreement that recognises the adverse effects of hydroelectric power development on upper Waitaki Basin rivers and wetlands.
  • The agreement was signed in November 1990, amended in May 2011, and is tied to the term of the power providers' consents to take and use water, which expire on 30 April 2025. Project River Recovery began operations in late 1991.
  • Project River Recovery's agreed role is to undertake ecological management and research programmes focused on maintaining, restoring and enhancing habitat and ecological communities in the river and wetland ecosystems of the upper Waitaki basin, with further direction and objectives for work set out in seven-year strategic plans.
  • Department of Conservation, Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy review Project River Recovery's funding and direction every seven-years when strategic plans are renewed.
  • The third seven-year period ended on 30 June 2012, and the current period runs from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2019. DOC, Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy aim to maintain and build on their constructive, mutually beneficial relationship.
  • When implementing Project River Recovery, DOC will continue to maintain close working relationships with Environment Canterbury, Land Information New Zealand, local territorial authorities, iwi, and private landholders.
  • This strategic plan outlines Project River Recovery's origins and achievements to date, describes its long-term vision, guiding principles and objectives.
  • Key objectives for Project River Recovery's fourth seven-year phase of operation are to:
    • Maintain indigenous biodiversity and protect and restore terrestrial and aquatic river and wetland habitat and the ecological communities within it by controlling, and where possible, eradicating invasive weeds.
    • Continue to test the effectiveness of, and implement, large-scale experimental predator control for population recovery of braided river and wetland fauna.
    • Increase awareness of braided rivers and wetlands within a changing environment.
    • Continue to gain ecosystem knowledge in upper Waitaki rivers and wetlands through research and monitoring and attract and facilitate research by external agencies, especially universities, to improve our understanding of the complex ecology of braided river systems, contributing to better habitat and biodiversity management. This includes the financial and logistical support of students who carry out applied research in the upper Waitaki basin on relevant topics.
    • There will be additional focus on a 'whole river, whole ecosystem approach', which includes the riverbanks, lower terraces and, especially, associated wetlands such as springs, streams, ponds and backwaters, for the benefit of invertebrates, lizards and fish. Waitaki endemic non-migratory fish species—bignose and lowland longjaw galaxias—are highly threatened and need urgent protection and management, including survey and monitoring and the physical protection of key sites.
    • In 2016, Project River Recovery will celebrate its 25th anniversary, a milestone both to be celebrated and reflected on.

Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. 

About our files

Publication information

Rebergen, A.L.; Woolmore, C.B. 2015. Project River Recovery Strategic Plan 2012-2019. Project River Recovery Report, Department of Conservation, Twizel. 

ISBN 978-0-478-15047-6 (Print)
ISBN 978-0-478-15048-3 (Online)


Te Manahuna / Twizel Office
Phone:   +64 3 435 0802
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   15 Wairepo Road
Twizel 7901
Postal Address:   Private Bag
Twizel 7944
Back to top