Posted on May 2, 2019
When asked to put into your mind an image of clean water in New Zealand we probably will think of a Southern Alps landscape with a picturesque glacier melt lake. Or we may think of a beautiful spring fed stream like this one in Putaruru, Waikato.
At Kauri Park we are involved in many restoration projects where unfortunately, reality is quite removed from these beautiful and pristine ecosystems.
In 2013 the Ministry for the Environment reported 60% of monitored rivers nationwide were unsafe for swimming and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment warned that without significant intervention, almost every river and lake will have deteriorated by 2020. That date is right upon us once we clear our way through this winter, so the prediction is a moving target but gives some idea of the degraded state of our waterways.
High nutrient leaching, sediments and runoff entering a waterway in the South Island
44% of monitored lakes in NZ were beyond eutrophication. Eutrophication is a water quality measurement term and is associated with high sediment/organic and nutrient loads.
An algae bloom in a degraded lake in the North Island
New Zealand has 425,000 kilometres of waterways and around 50% of these are headwaters and tributaries. If we take the 60% of these waterways as being unsafe then this means that 255,000 kilometres of these water bodies are unsafe for swimming.
Most Kiwis like to identify themselves with the clean green image that we think of when we talk about our outdoors. Nobody really likes the facts that this isn’t the case but possibly feels detached from how they can help improve the situation. Our waterways should not be the conveyor of pollutants to the ocean via our streams and rivers.
The fantastic thing about Kiwis is their ability to mobilize and make a change. A good news story is this group. The Sustainable Business Network came together with the Million Metres Streams Projects program. https://millionmetres.org.nz/ This is a way to donate to a worthy cause to help the situation. The program is a nationwide program and has projects ranging from Northland to Southland.
The Million Metres program is something that Kauri Park is pleased to be assisting with. To date the program has delivered 50,000 metres of planting which is a good effort and shows how an organisation of like-minded people with the same vision and goal can set a platform to build success. In this case the successful outcome is water quality.
Anybody can join this successful program and there is a planting day coming up in Auckland on the 26th May. This is the Clevedon Wharf Reserve in east Auckland. Take your gloves and a spade. https://millionmetres.org.nz/funded-project/restoring-the-wairoa-river-at-clevedon-wharf Kauri Park is pleased to assist in this project and we know it will be successful. Only positive things can result from this project. Take the time to look at the people who have donated to this project. Every little bit counts and that could be you too. This is everyday Kiwis making a difference.
The team here at Kauri Park are passionate about restoring the environment and our waterways have been subject to a huge shift in their natural environment. We realize that New Zealand is not going to return to the bush clad shaded streams that existed before the land clearing happened. We can take a step back from our waterways and ecosystems though and give them a planted buffer to repair themselves.