Rivers

Latest news

Under the light of the moon where the river meets the sea, NIWA researchers are planning to catch tiny fish that are all but invisible to the naked eye.
It may be rubbish to everyone else, but to Amanda Valois each little scrap of plastic on a river bank or in a waterway tells a valuable story.
Christchurch’s Red Zone is to be the focal point of a scientific experiment involving street lights and insects over summer. 
On the bottom of New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs is an underwater garden of vivid green, pinks and inky blues.

Our work

Currently there are gaps in understanding of user decision making processes and public needs and requirements for river forecasting in New Zealand. This project aims to bridge NIWA river forecasting aspirations and capabilities with both the public and decision makers’ requirements.
The ability to properly manage our freshwater resources requires a solid understanding of the flora and fauna which live in and interact with them.
The alp-fed braided rivers of Canterbury are treasured for their landscape, recreational amenities, salmon- and trout-fishing, and unique riverine environments – which provide habitat to a host of endangered birds – but they are under threat from land-use intensification and a growing demand for irrigation water.
Braided rivers are an arena where woody weeds and floods are in constant competition with each other. Braided rivers naturally flood frequently, repeatedly mobilising their bed sediments and shifting their multiple channels.

Latest videos

A day out measuring at Molesworth
A day out measuring at Molesworth
Modelling vegetation-impacted morphodynamics in braided rivers
NIWA is developing numerical models for predicting how the morphology of braided rivers responds to flow regulation and invasive exotic woody vegetation.
This project aims to increase our knowledge of aquatic ecosystems and their restoration, and apply this to degraded streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries.
Under the light of the moon where the river meets the sea, NIWA researchers are planning to catch tiny fish that are all but invisible to the naked eye.
The alp-fed braided rivers of Canterbury are treasured for their landscape, recreational amenities, salmon- and trout-fishing, and unique riverine environments – which provide habitat to a host of endangered birds – but they are under threat from land-use intensification and a growing demand for irrigation water.
Braided rivers are an arena where woody weeds and floods are in constant competition with each other. Braided rivers naturally flood frequently, repeatedly mobilising their bed sediments and shifting their multiple channels.
Most of the plastic in the ocean originates on land, being carried to the estuaries and coasts by rivers. Managing this plastic on land before it reaches the river could be the key to stemming the tide of marine-bound plastics. The aim of this project is to understand the sources and fate of plastic pollution carried by urban rivers using the Kaiwharawhara Stream as a case study.
It may be rubbish to everyone else, but to Amanda Valois each little scrap of plastic on a river bank or in a waterway tells a valuable story.
Christchurch’s Red Zone is to be the focal point of a scientific experiment involving street lights and insects over summer. 
The Fish Passage Assessment Tool has been developed to provide an easy to use, practical tool for recording instream structures and assessing their likely impact on fish movements and river connectivity.
Currently there are gaps in understanding of user decision making processes and public needs and requirements for river forecasting in New Zealand. This project aims to bridge NIWA river forecasting aspirations and capabilities with both the public and decision makers’ requirements.

Freshwater Update 79 brings you the latest information from our Freshwater & Estuaries Centre, with articles ranging from NIWA working with NASA; restoring a stream catchment in Kaikōura; looking after urban water; keeping soil and reducing sedimentation; to culling catfish.

‘Swimmability’ of New Zealand rivers

Swimming is a popular activity in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Two attributes of waters that strongly affect aesthetic quality and safety for swimming are visual clarity and faecal contamination. It turns out that these two attributes are fairly well-correlated (inversely) in New Zealand rivers, such that (easily seen) visual clarity provides a rough-but-useful guide to (unseen) microbial quality.
On the bottom of New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs is an underwater garden of vivid green, pinks and inky blues.
The New Zealand Fish Passage Guidelines sets out recommended practice for the design of instream infrastructure to provide for fish passage.
Freshwater Update 76 brings you the latest information from our Freshwater & Estuaries Centre, with articles ranging from spring and river water condition to urban waters, didymo and aquatic plant scientists.
As the road behind Hanmer Springs turns to gravel and a dust cloud forms in the rear vision mirror, the southern edge of Molesworth Station unfolds.

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All staff working on this subject

Hydro-ecological Modeller
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Freshwater Hydro-Ecologist
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Riparian and Wetland Scientist
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Land and Water Scientist
Assistant Regional Manager - Christchurch
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Freshwater Fisheries Ecologist
Principal Scientist - Aquatic Pollution
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Hydrology Scientist
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Environmental Monitoring Technician
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Freshwater Fish Ecologist
Environmental Monitoring Technician
Hydrodynamics Scientist
Regional Manager - Wellington
Regional Manager - Auckland
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Environmental Scientist
Algal Ecologist
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