This research explores how to produce effective riparian and wetland restoration plans. It considers design and visual communication in seeking to produce plans that are environmentally effective and easy to understand. Through an in depth understanding of the literature and current best practice, a potential design strategy was unveiled. This led to the discovery of how design initiatives should move beyond uniform riparian buffer zones to also consider critical source areas, concentrated flow paths and convergence zones. These ideas were explored through the production of riparian and wetland restoration plans for farmers at three different sites in Southland. Two distinct methodologies were used to produce riparian and wetland restoration plans: on-site sketching in collaboration with farmers to produce plans in Adobe Illustrator, and the use of ESRI ArcGIS employing a range of geographic factors that can help target key areas for riparian and wetland restoration. Strengths and weaknesses of each approach were established during the production of these plans. These were further verified in the form of ground truthing and interviews with the farmers. Each method had positives and negatives, from software cost and data resolution to the level of detail in each plan. It is recommended that a more integrated approach using the strengths of each method to inform each other is the optimum way forward to producing more effective riparian and wetland restoration plans.
Keywords: environmental management; freshwater farm plans; GIS
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