Key pressures on the natural character of our coastal environment include coastal subdivision and structures, catchment land clearance, animal and plant pests, and recreational use.
On this page: Past pressures, Current pressures, What’s being done?
Coastal development has degraded the natural character of many beaches, especially on the Coromandel Peninsula. People have modified most dunes and removed much of the original vegetation.
Estuaries have also been degraded, mainly through:
- the loss of estuarine vegetation and shellfish resources
- accelerated infilling with sediments (from erosion and land clearance in catchments)
- the construction of coastal structures.
Find out more about the threats to estuaries in the Waikato region.
Over the last 120 years much of our coastal forests and wetlands have been degraded or lost as a results of clearance and reclamation for farming and coastal subdivision. Small remnants remain, but land clearance, stock grazing and pests threaten these.
Currently the biggest pressures facing our coastal environment include:
- catchment land use
- coastal development (for example, marinas and marine farms), subdivision and coastal structures
- introduced plant and animal pests
- demands for recreational space.
Many of these pressures are increasing. Some pressures in coastal areas have decreased in recent decades - particularly sand mining.
The Regional Policy Statement identifies these coastal resource management issues:
- Inappropriate coastal development results in a loss of natural character.
- Any decline in coastal water quality can reduce its life supporting capacity and/or its cultural, recreational and commercial value.
- There are a number of organisations carrying out different management functions in the coastal environment. Decisions made by any one of these organisations can affect parts of the coastal environment managed by other organisations. Inconsistent management of the coastal environment between agencies can result in adverse effects.
- Conflict between the demand for public access to and along the coast, and the need to restrict access for conservation, safety, security or defence purposes.
- Too much noise in the coastal environment can damage amenity and conservation values.
What’s being done?
Regional and District Plans guide our decision-making about coastal use and development. Check out our Regional Coastal Plan.
Waikato Regional Council has coastal monitoring programmes in place to measure changes in our coastal environment and how effective we are at implementing our policies. Find out more about some of our monitoring programmes in our indicators.
We support Beachcare groups, which use native coastal vegetation to restore degraded dunes. Riparian management work, such as planting and fencing of waterways by Landcare and Harbourcare groups, helps decrease sediment and nutrient runoff to estuaries and the coast via streams and rivers.