Nelson’s coastline ranges from the shifting channels of the Waimea Estuary at Monaco, to the golden sands of Tahnuanui beach, and north to the rugged cliffs of Cape Soucis, with the Nelson Haven protected by the arc of the boulder bank and the unique geology of the tombolo at Cable Bay adding to the diversity of our marine margins
As a city, the connection with the sea is integral to our identity. Our estuaries, beaches and active port are key community, recreational and economic assets.
However, Nelson/Whakatū’s coastal ecosystems are amongst the most heavily modified ecosystems in the region. Dunes and sandspits are largely dominated by exotic vegetation, only a small fragment of the original native vegetation cover of coastal flats and estuarine vegetation remains largely due to reclamation, urban and farm development.
Despite this habitat loss, a number of nationally threatened plants and animals persist in coastal ecosystems, including banded rail, coastal peppercress and a beetle endemic to the Tahunanui back beach. These vulnerable coastal ecosystems and species are at risk from plant and animal pest impacts and increasingly, to climate change effects, e.g. coastal inundation and erosion.
What is Council doing?
Nelson Nature is working with the community and other partners to protect:
- our valuable coastal sites, including estuaries, dunes, islands and coastal sites in private ownership with animal and plant pest control and planting.
- our vulnerable coastal species like back beach beetle and banded rail with habitat enhancement and predator control.
How can you get involved
- Join one of Nelson’s community groups caring for some of our special coastal sites and species
- Don’t trample the dunes at sites like Tahunanui Beach and Delaware Spit.
- If you are a coastal landowner, contact Nelson Nature to discuss what support we can provide.
- Keep your dog on a lead when visiting sites important for coastal birds, e.g. Boulder Bank and Wakapuaka Sandflats
- Have your say at the Waimea Inlet Forum, which represents community interests in the Waimea Inlet in both Tasman and Nelson
- Log any species observations through Inaturalist
Each of our coastal environments has their own flora, fauna and threats.
Specific coastal restoration projects include
In 2016, Council produced a report into the outstanding Natural Character of the Nelson Coastal Environment. The report can be found here.
There are four estuaries within the Nelson City area.
Dunes and sandspits
Nelson's coastline has a range of features, each with specific ecosystems and species.
Boulderbank and Haulashore Island
The Nelson Boulderbank and Haulashore Island are iconic coastal features in Nelson's landscape