Taranaki water health changing course

Taranaki has recorded its best ever stream health trends in the past 21 years, a 2017 Healthy Waterways report released today (18.10.17) shows.

The report was published today by Taranaki Regional Council and is available on the Council website. (www.trc.govt.nz/healthy-waterways-report-2017/)

TRC scientist Gary Bedford, Director of Environment Quality, says the latest trends from 20 years of monitoring, show most measures are improving or not changing significantly for the ecological health and physical and chemical state of 99% Taranaki rivers and streams.

“We’re excited about the latest assessments of in-stream life – these are the little insects living in water - the primary indicator of water quality, these are the best ever results since we began measuring.

Mr Bedford attributed the changing course of Taranaki water health trends to the work of farmers and landowners, as part of Taranaki’s Riparian Management Programme.

“I’m excited because this report shows the work our community is doing, as part of Taranaki’s Riparian Management Programme, is making a difference,” Mr Bedford says.

The report shows:

  • Ecological Health: 51% improving, 47% no obvious trend, 2% deterioration
  • Physical and chemical trends: 1% improvement, 84.5% no obvious trend, 14.5% deterioration
  • Nitrogen levels: total nitrogen levels are not increasing
  • Algae: 94% met national guidelines, 6% exceeded guidelines
  • National Standards: 69% A best, 27% B intermediate, 2% C acceptable, 2% D unacceptable and improvement required

“You can’t argue with science – streamside fencing and planting is having a positive impact in Taranaki, trapping and filtering pasture run-off and keeping animals out of our streams,” Mr Bedford says.

Taranaki leads the country with riparian fencing and planting – it is the biggest programme of its kind in NZ. More than 14,500 km of Taranaki’s streambanks are now covered by riparian plans and 85% of those have been fenced, and 70% vegetated where recommended.

“We’re proud Taranaki residents are taking responsibility, but the bar is constantly being raised and this work will only continue, supporting our freshwater health, taking Taranaki forward,” Mr Bedford says.