Floodplain planning 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.

Outpits from this study include three reports looking at different aspects of the recovery and adaptation process in light of the current planning and decision context.

All reports are all free to download via the links below:

Report 1
Floodplain restoration principles for the Avon-Ōtākaro Red Zone. Case studies and recommendations

Report 2
Restoration opportunities assessment for the Avon Ōtākaro Red Zone using a local knowledge approach

Report 3
Integrated assessment frameworks for evaluating large scale river corridor restoration

See also a summary document prepared in collaboration with AvON. 
Available here.

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