Lifting farmer and community awareness and engagement through a journey of stream walks and water testing

Understanding more about what is in our water!

Stream walks are open to all and look to engage local communities to explore what is in our waterways and identify opportunities for improvement. Participants will be able to undertake a facilitated walk from the mountains to the sea. During each stream walk a SHMAK kit will be used, complete a Rapid Habitat Assessment, check out some macro invertebrate monitoring, riparian condition assessment methods and a chance to see an eDNA test in use.

This will allow landholders to identify areas of good water way management and areas where there is a room for improvement.

Increasing public and community knowledge of ecosystem health, biodiversity and much more.

Further, the ACE project is building awareness and engagement within the urban and rural communities to help understand, identify and own any water quality issues. To help this, additional water quality and habitat data is going to be collected (in addition to what the regional council is collecting). Results will be shared with the community along with developing an understand of how land management can influence the results.

News from the Stream Walks

ACE Idea to improve Southland water

ACE Stream walks building environmental knowledge and community pride

eDNA Results

Thanks to the Environmental Protection Authority NZ, we were lucky enough to do a Wilderlab eDNA (environmental DNA) test on each of our stream walks. 

Wilderlab eDNA kits are highly sensitive tests that detect the smallest traces of target organisms from their environment, and are well suited for mapping species distributions and ecological monitoring, allowing the groups to see what insects, animals, plants fish and birds have been present in the water through their DNA breadcrumbs - how cool is that! 

Please check out wilderlabs Explore page to see all of the results we have collected to date. 

Rapid Habitat Assessment (RHA)

Cawthron, in partnership with councils across New Zealand, has developed a Rapid Habitat Assessment (RHA) protocol to support the work of regional councils and citizen scientists in monitoring stream habitat.

The Rapid Habitat Assessment (RHA) provides a ‘habitat quality score’ for a river reach which indicates general stream habitat condition for the physical aspect, such as the structure of the stream banks or the nature of the stream bed.
The RHA is now used by almost all regional councils during routine monitoring, and increasingly as part of farm environmental planning. The protocol was developed to help with national standardisation of stream habitat assessment and is designed to complement water quality and macroinvertebrate data collected as part of national State of Environment monitoring.

Access the ‘How to’ RHA protocol videos below:


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