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Resource survey and information

Freshwater plants are the 'well-kept secret' of New Zealand’s flora, hidden away in remote areas or lurking under the water surface of our lakes and rivers. An ability to discover basic information about plants in waterways is the foundation to solving a spectrum of problems that face our freshwaters today.

NIWA develops specialist survey techniques to detect and delineate aquatic vegetation, ranging from scuba surveys to sonar technology. Submerged plants are excellent ecological indicators, mirroring the condition of water bodies in which they live. NIWA capitalise on this fact to design methods that use plant measures to assess water body condition (LakeSPI). The aquatic plant survey data we collect is available via web-accessible data storage and retrieval systems, so anyone can 'discover' the plant secrets in their water body.


Design survey techniques

Develop ecological condition indicator tools

Provide web-accessible database

Native submerged plants growing in Lake Waikaremoana. Credit: John Clayton