Christchurch is often described as a "city built on a swamp". Its waterways and wetlands are sustainably managed in accordance with the Resource Management Act 1991, and the objectives and policies of the City Plan. Additionally, the Local Government Act requires the Christchurch City Council to develop business plans for the management of waterways, wetlands and surface water within its locality. To address these requirements, the former Water Services Unit of the Christchurch City Council developed a Waterways and Wetlands Natural Asset Management Strategy.

Extensive consultation and research in the later part of the 1990’s highlighted concerns and opportunities associated with the Styx ecosystem. From discussion and consideration of the issues, the 'Styx Vision 2000 - 2040' evolved and was adopted by the Christchurch City Council at its Council meeting on the 11 July 2001.

Styx Vision 2000 - 2040

  • Vision 1
    To achieve a "Viable Springfed River Ecosystem" to complement the other representative protected ecosystems of Christchurch such as the Port Hills, Travis Wetlands and the Coastline.
  • Vision 2
    To create a "Source to Sea Experience" through the development of an Urban National Reserve.
  • Vision 3
    To develop a "Living Laboratory" that focuses on both learning and research as practised by Dr Leonard Cockayne (1885).
  • Vision 4
    To establish "The Styx" as a place to be through maintaining and enhancing the special character and identity of the area.
  • Vision 5
    To foster "Partnerships" through raising the quality of relationships as we move forward together.

These Visions provide key directions, along with actions for their implementation. Since the 'Styx Vision 2000 - 2040'  was adopted by the Christchurch City Council, the Council has acquired large areas of land alongside waterways in the Styx catchment that will eventually form part of the green corridor network, over 5 hectares of this land is currently being re-established as wildlife habitat , the Styx Living Laboratory Trust has been established to oversee the catchment as a focus for research and learning,  and a pa harakeke has been established at Janet Stewart Reserve.