Wainono Lagoon Project

This page has information on the Wainono Lagoon Project. It received Crown funding from the Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean-up Fund from 2012 to 2015 to address historical water quality issues.

Project details

Project cost

$2.1 million

Crown funding



Wainono Lagoon, Waimate, Canterbury


Environment Canterbury, Lower Waitaki South Coastal Canterbury Zone Committee, Department of Conservation, Central South Island Fish and Game Council, Forest and Bird South Canterbury, Waihao-Wainono Water Users Society


Te Rūnanga o Waihao, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Project purpose

To improve water quality in Wainono Lagoon and minimise further contamination of the lagoon by reducing sediment inflows. The project will also help restore an important and culturally significant resource for mahinga kai (customary food and resource gathering).

Project timeframe 2012-2015


Wainono is a coastal lagoon and wetland habitat located in Canterbury. It is an important mahinga kai resource for local Māori. It is of national and international importance for birdlife and also has high value for native fish. The lagoon contains extensive saltmarsh and freshwater wetland habitats that support a range of native vegetation types. Its importance derives from the lagoon's size, diversity of habitats and location in a chain of coastal wetlands. The margins of Wainono Lagoon constitute the most extensive contiguous wetland area in lowland South Canterbury (about 480 hectares).

Stock in waterways, vegetation removal, and land drainage and erosion have resulted in an increase in sediment entering the tributaries that feed the lagoon. A thick layer of sediment now covers the 330 hectare lagoon bed which also has high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and turbidity (cloudiness).

Funded interventions

Funding was used for:

  • fencing off streams that flow into the lagoon.
  • building culverts, bridges and alternative stock water sources at key sites
  • planting native vegetation
  • erosion and sediment control works such as stream rebattering.

Final project update – December 2015

By the end of the project in December 2015, the following had been achieved:

  • fencing of 49 kilometres of stream
  • rebattering of 21 kilometres of stream and river banks
  • installation of 31 sediment traps
  • installation of detention bunds (for phosphorous) at 72 sites
  • 4.8 kilometres of stream planting.

Find out more

Wainono Lagoon [Environment Canterbury website]