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Freshwater Monitoring

Tiaki Maniototo is all about working with farmers and landowners toward a healthier Upper Taiari/Taieri river. An important aspect of that is monitoring water quality, which helps us gain more knowledge around the health of the waterways and guides our future efforts.

In conjunction with the Maniototo Irrigation Company, we’re planning to develop a water monitoring programme this coming spring. “We're looking at excess sediment runoff and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus,” says Eilis Hogan, who’s helping to run the programme.

“We also are going to be doing macroinvertebrate testing, as they're a good indicator of water quality. Eilis explains that macroinvertebrates include mayfly and caddisfly larvae, which breed in our streams and are very familiar to trout fishermen.

In order to learn more about the health of waterways in the Māniatoto, Eilis and the rest of the team have been doing stream surveys, using fyke nets, minnow traps and electric fishing gear to temporarily stun fish so they can be counted. Water quality in some of the smaller tributaries seems to be fairly healthy, “We've been finding lots of eels and trout,” she says.

There are also encouraging numbers of galaxiids (native fish) at some sites. “Over two days on Boundary Creek, we recorded over 530 individuals along a two kilometer stretch. They were just really abundant just throughout the stream.”

Hogan’s first love, however, is birds. She worked as an ornithologist in Ireland, before coming out to New Zealand with her partner Colin, who is also on the Tiaki Maniototo team. Bird surveys in the upper Taiari scroll plain, she says, have shown what a special place it is for wildfowl.

“We've found lots of grey teal, shovelers and white faced herons. We're going to look for marsh crakes and bitterns this breeding season.”

Since joining the team at the start of this year, Eilis has enjoyed learning more about the beautiful Māniatoto. “I love doing all the fieldwork – looking at the scroll plain and all the oxbow lakes. It’s really different from what you see anywhere else.”

If farmers or landowners would like stream health testing done on their property, Tiaki staff are available to do so – please just get in touch. Having this information may help with developing farm plans. In areas where water quality is reduced, we can help those landowners take steps to improve it.

Get in touch:

022 062 3522

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