Riparian management guides : are they meeting the needs of the interested public?
In New Zealand, there are many published guidelines about the management of riparian areas. The question needs to be asked, are these guides useful? This research thesis investigates the extent to which riparian management guides meet the needs of the users. This research also considers the importance of riparian management (with regards to the appropriateness of educational guides) in assisting practitioners and the interested public in the management of riparian areas. The main way of investigating this topic was with the help of discussion groups. Discussion groups were held with interested organisations. These groups fell into three categories; Urban groups, Rural groups and Interest groups. The groups were asked to define what would make a guide most useful and desirable to them under three major categories: 1) what the guide looked like, 2) what information was contained, and 3) how was the information accessed. An opportunity was also provided for any further comments. This information was used to create a list of the most popular criteria that existing guides and further publications could be examined against. Eleven criteria were identified as follows: Information should be available online; Have pictures; Include diagrams; Is simple and easy to understand; Contains how to and appropriate methods; Has a plant list; Considers maintenance issues; Identifies where to locate further information; How to contact experts; Is available in libraries; Is in booklet form. The availability of existing information was investigated and its suitability assessed against the criteria. A list of all regional, territorial and unitary councils as well as 'other organisations' that were regarded as sources of environmental knowledge were investigated to see how many had produced information on riparian and wetland management issues. In terms of sources of information, 'other organisations' produce the greatest rate of riparian management information, followed by regional/unitary authorities. Two guides from Canterbury best meet the criteria identified by the interested parties, for the Canterbury region. Each scored 10/11 and failed on different criteria. This led to the conclusion that riparian management guides in Canterbury, while obviously still having room for improvement, are very close to meeting what interested parties feel is most important. Finally, a prototype (model) based on the research is provided for anyone who might be considering preparing a riparian management guide.... [Show full abstract]