New Zealand has more than 50 species of native freshwater and sports fish. It’s important that instream structures such as culverts and weirs are designed to allow for fish passage, so that fish can move upstream and downstream between different river and stream habitats and complete their lifecycle.

Culverts, weirs, flap gates, fords and dams installed after 3 September 2020 must meet minimum reporting requirements such as height, width and location under the Essential Freshwater regulations.

Culverts, weirs and flap gates must meet minimum environmental conditions for fish passage and may need a resource consent.

While the new regulations do not apply to instream structures installed before 3 September 2020, it is still important to ensure those structures provide for fish passage. There are options for remediating or retrofitting structures to help fish passage.

The New Zealand Fish Passage Guidelines set out how to design instream structures that allow for fish passage.

Under national and regional rules, the installation, alteration, maintenance, and removal of some structures is a permitted activity – and therefore does not require resource consent – only if you can meet the specific requirements outlined below.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago rules

National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-F) Regulations 

Apply for a resource consent


Information requirements

The information specified in the regulations must be collected and provided to the relevant regional council, together with the time and date of its collection, within 20 working days after the activity is finished.

Reporting back to us

When installing a structure in a waterway, you must provide information about the structure to us within 20 days of it being installed. Information must be provided for both permitted and consented activities.

Need help?

We have expert staff to provide localised assistance and advice regarding land management, consents and compliance. 

If you think you may require a resource consent, please contact us. We can arrange for you to have a free pre-application meeting.  

More information

Page last updated 8 July 2024.