Exploring CUE Haven Waterways—6 July 2016
Auckland Council’s Wai Care is a water quality monitoring, education and action program for community groups, individuals, businesses and schools across the Auckland region. Waicare staff support and enable local communities to be active in the protection, health and management of local waterways and catchments.
Since 2012, Waicare staff have been conducting water quality tests and identifying macroinvertebrates in the CUE Haven stream, Wai Mātauranga (Water of Wisdom) and the ponds.
Over the years Waicare staff have come out on numerous occasions when we have had school groups assisting us with planting and other activities. They do an hour long waicare session with the students about the importance of protecting our waterways and teach the students various water quality tests and how to identify macroinvertebrates.
In November 2012 staff from Waicare did some bench mark testing of the CUE Haven stream and at that time found native banded kokopu in the stream. Read about the visit here.
Today Shelley Hackett and Hazel Meadows from Waicare came out to again to check on sites visited in 2012 and conduct further analysis of the stream at other sites too. Also joining us for the day was Louisa Copestake, a final year biodiversity management student from Unitec who is doing research at CUE Haven on macroinvertebrates.
We gathered up the equipment and headed up to the top of the property where the stream starts.
They identified the first point for testing and set up what looked like a mini laboratory!
They then conducted a variety of tests to compare with previous benchmarks and to include in our data base of historical results. Louisa assisted with the testing and also gathered samples and conducted tests for her own research project.
A very important aspect of learning about how to do water quality testing is to understand how different conditions and characteristics of a waterway will affect the test results and also impact the types of creatures that might find the area hospitable.
Shelley’s and Hazel’s subject matter expertise was invaluable as they pointed out how different conditions along the streams and around the ponds affected water quality and habitat.
This helps us to make sure our plantings are helping water quality and also enables us to recognize habitats where fish and macroinvertebrates are likely to be.
They then explored the area up and downstream and conducted more experiments.
We were happy to see that water quality of Wai Mātauranga continues to improve as we have planted out more of the property.
They examined the collected samples for macroinvertebrates.
In addition to some spiders and snails they were happy to find a flat mayfly:
And a big damselfly larva that was almost ready to take wing:
The big excitement for the day was finding a kokopu in roughly the same place we had found other kokopu back in 2012. The kokupu we caught and released today was approximately 150 mm long. Yeah!
Finding kokopu again is further confirmation that water quality at CUE Haven is satisfactory to maintain the fish long term.
After the initial find of banded kokopu, Louise Thacker, a graphic design student at Unitec designed a very informative sign about these fish. Thanks to funding from the Auckland Council’s Rodney Environmental Education Fund and Capitol Sign Services Ltd, we developed Louise’s design into an actual sign. The information sign enable visitors to CUE Haven to learn more about our native fish.
The other bit of excitement on the day was Louisa getting an accidental waist deep dunking in the 10 degree cold water! But she managed to keep her sense of humour throughout.
We’d like to thank Louisa for helping out and participating in a fun and interesting day. Louisa, many thanks for selecting CUE Haven to do your research project – we are anxious to read your report at the end of the year and we hope other students will follow on and build on your research on macroinvertebrates at CUE Haven.
Our thanks to Unitec’s Ecology and Biodiversity Studies Department for their continued support and encouraging their students to conduct research on native biodiversity and do practicums at CUE Haven.
A big thank you to Shelley and Hazel for spending the day with us and doing all the waicare tests and also imparting so much valuable information.
And our thanks also to Auckland Council for making Shelley and Hazel available. The expertise of Council field staff is invaluable in helping us with our restoration project. And we really appreciate their continued support of our efforts to make CUE Haven a native nature reserve with thriving biodiversity for the community to enjoy and also use as a space for environmental education.