Many New Zealand cities and towns have switched over to modern LED street lighting. The move will save on operational costs, but little is known what impact artificial streetlights have on flying freshwater insects which are integral to our waterway ecosystems. NIWA investigated the likely impact as part of a four-year MBIE-funded Smart Idea project.
Nutrients, sediment, and microbial contaminants are mobilized from urban and agricultural landscapes and enter streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries. These contaminants can degrade water quality, ecological health, and cultural values.
The Inner Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana ecosystem is facing proliferations of algae, de-oxygenation, reduced pH (acidification), reduced water clarity, and muddier sediments arising from historical and future land-derived contaminant inputs.
Constructed wetlands, detention bunds, woodchip denitrification filters and planted riparian buffers are examples of a growing suite of edge-of-field and farm-scale mitigation systems that are being trialled across rural New Zealand to reduce the impact of diffuse pollution on freshwater quality
NIWA has established a network of high elevation electronic weather stations to provide a solid basis to understand seasonal patterns and long-term changes to seasonal snow and ice in alpine regions of New Zealand.
The alp-fed braided rivers of Canterbury are treasured for their landscape, recreational amenities, salmon- and trout-fishing, and unique riverine environments – which provide habitat to a host of endangered birds – but they are under threat from land-use intensification and a growing demand for irrigation water.
Of the more than 70 aquatic plant species naturalised in New Zealand, more than 75% have become problem weeds or have been assessed as having the potential to become future problem weeds. Most of our lakes, rivers and streams are affected by at least one of these species.
Braided rivers are an arena where woody weeds and floods are in constant competition with each other.
Braided rivers naturally flood frequently, repeatedly mobilising their bed sediments and shifting their multiple channels.
Most of the plastic in the ocean originates on land, being carried to the estuaries and coasts by rivers. Managing this plastic on land before it reaches the river could be the key to stemming the tide of marine-bound plastics. The aim of this project is to understand the sources and fate of plastic pollution carried by urban rivers using the Kaiwharawhara Stream as a case study.
Currently there are gaps in understanding of user decision making processes and public needs and requirements for river forecasting in New Zealand. This project aims to bridge NIWA river forecasting aspirations and capabilities with both the public and decision makers’ requirements.
Bringing together leading scientific organisations and regional councils, this project aims to develop a sophisticated computer modelling framework that will enable users to accurately predict how much freshwater is available, where it has come from, and how quickly it moves through New Zealand catchments.