Red zoned land acquisition and opportunities for managed retreat

Following the Canterbury earthquakes a large tract of damaged land adjacent to the lower river was acquired by the Crown, stretching from city to sea. This 'red zoned' land was vacated and cleared of housing. Historically this area was part of an extensive network of riparian floodplain wetlands supporting a rich mosaic of ecosystems. After European colonisation, the river was regulated with stopbanks and the majority of the land was drained or raised to assist development. Many of these developments encroached on parts of the active floodplain exacerbating flooding issues in extreme events and impacting on natural processes. There is now an unprecedented opportunity to re-design for the future to address some of the historical trends that have led to degradation, and improve resilience to future events.

This study was supported by three local environment groups working on community-led earthquake recovery: Avon-Ōtākaro Network, Avon-Ōtākaro Forest Park and Greening the Red Zone.

The study provides an analysis of floodplain planning considerations for earthquake affected lands in the Avon/Ōtākaro river corridor. Sea level rise impacts are an important consideration (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Sea level rise scenarios.

Outputs from this study included a summary document prepared in collaboration with AvON. Follow the link here.

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