Dion, Tim, Sarah talking with landowner

Catchment Condition Survey

Research & Monitoring – With Descriptor

About the project

A Catchment Condition Survey (CCS) collects information about the condition of a catchment through the physical inspection of properties. By gathering this baseline information, decisions on what actions to take and where to achieve the best results can be identified and costed.

A Catchment Condition Survey was undertaken as part of the Mountains to Sea Project. This gave us a starting point and also provided information to inform the development of a Catchment Action Prioritisation Tool (CAPTure).

The CCS identifies key ecological issues in a catchment, determine priority areas for mitigation. They are relatively inexpensive to undertake and can be repeated to measure change over time and space.

The primary features assessed by the CCS were:

  • stock access to waterways
  • riparian vegetation type
  • stock access to significant natural features
  • land/riparian erosion

As a secondary focus, the following features were recorded during the survey if they were encountered:

  • instream structures
  • instream blockages
  • weed issues
  • threatened species presence
  • any relevant landowner comments

A Catchment Condition Survey was also carried out for the Okarika Pocket transformation project in Wairua, Northland.

Dion Patterson

Dion Patterson

DOC Site Lead, Waikato Peat Lakes and Pūkorokoro-Miranda
Rose Graham

Rose Graham

DOC Ranger - Waikato Peat Lakes and Pūkorokoro-Miranda


  • Inexpensive and quick to deliver
  • Direct engagement with landowners increases awareness of environmental issues and gives context to their property being part of a wider catchment
  • Involves physical inspection of properties, meaning data is more detailed compared to a desktop mapping exercise
  • Identifies priority actions - at both property and catchment scale
  • Can be adjusted to target particular threats e.g. barriers to native fish passage
  • Easy to repeat to measure change


  • agreement to test Waikato Regional Council CCS template
  • contractor engaged
  • permission obtained from landowners and field survey completed
  • GIS data, summary map, and report provided to Living Water
  • CCS used to inform individual Farm Environment Plans (FEPs)
  • data set incorporated into development of catchment prioritisation tool CAPTure
  • re-survey using drone over set photo points to monitor progress as and when required
Stock fenced from waterway