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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Waterway health report Casper smith

Waterway health report

This world may seem perfect, but there is more to earth than buildings, trees and people, Think about the water you drink, is it safe? My class and I have had a focus on 'how does human activity impact on the health of our waterways?' This is what we've discovered. 

Christchurch Waterways
We have many types of waterways in Christchurch, there are: artificial and natural waterways, these listed are artificial types: tributaries, surface runoff and recreational bowls. Here are some natural waterways and things that connect with them: estuaries, rivers, streams, aquifers and groundwater soakage. 

These are the ways that they connect with each other Groundwater soakage connects with aquifers because sometimes the groundwater soakage goes into the aquifers.  Rivers connect with streams because streams are usually smaller rivers or rivers run into streams,  (rivers with streams coming out of them are called 'braided rivers')  Estuaries connect with rivers and streams because streams run into rivers which run into estuaries. 

The ecosystem

The ecosystem is a very important part of the river, without the shade, vegetation fish and invertebrates nothing could live in our rivers.  The mayfly larvae live in the shade because if the water is too hot he uses to much energy and dies off. 

 Mayfly larvae live through the rapids because the rapids have lots of oxygen because the bubbles that the rapids make are rich with oxygen, and it provides a home for macroinvertebrates and crustaceans, which connects to the fish such as the common bully.  The common bully (cockabully) lives on mayfly larvae because it eats the Mayfly larvae and keeps its population under control.

 Brown trout Live on mudfish and the common bully because he eats them and that connects with the mayfly larvae because the common bully eats mayfly larvae. 

The Mudfish depends on sediment, in the summer he burrows into the sediment which keeps him cool, giving him his name. 

The putakitaki (paradise duck) thrives around and on vegetation because it eats the vegetation, making it so there is not to much vegetation. The pukeko also feeds on vegetation like the paradise duck so they have a connection, if the  vegetation dies off the pukeko dies along with the paradise duck.

River Health
There are lots of things that keep the water healthy, such as: a thin layer of algae, no erosion, macroinvertebrates, water temperature and water clarity (turbidity). 
The different varieties of macroinvertebrates can tell you how healthy or unhealthy the river is. A healthy river would have stoneflies, mayflies, caddisflies, dobsonflies and damselflies.

Macroinvertebrates keep the water healthy because they eat the algae and stop it from growing to big and taking the oxygen.  Water heat can affect or help the rivers, if there is too much sediment the water will get too warm because of the generally brown color of sediment. 

The point in this and how to do it
The point in this is to learn how to work out a river's health is, the waterway types we learnt on were; tributaries, rivers, stormwater systems, streams, ponds and drains .

The method in this is to get a  TRD (technical retrieval device a.k.a a sieve on a stick) and dip it into the water ecosystem you are testing. Next swish it through the water gently three or more times and take it out.  Get a deep tray and a MRD (miniature retrieval device a.k.a spoon) and retrieve the macroinvertebrates and put them in the tray.  Next get a device (iPhone, iPod, iPad, computer,) and search up 'list of macroinvertebrates pictures' and select the macroinvertebrates you think are interesting, then identify them. The good ones are: stoneflies, dobsonflies, caddisflies, damselflies, water boatmen and backswimmers. 

My class went on a few school trips to waterways.  They were: Styx mill reserve and Willowbank river. The total score was 48 (excellent) 
We proved that the Styx Reserve was the most healthy part, (the two are one river) because we found some 'fussy' macroinvertebrates.  The fussy macroinvertebrates were mosquito larvae (2x) and dobsonfly larvae (1x).  But they still suggest that it's a fairly good to excellent score,  

These are the ones that suggest really good health: stoneflies, mayflies and others. 
We did not get any of the ones above. 
These are some other  indicators that suggest good health:  there was a thin layer of algae, suggesting good health because the invertebrates like a thin layer.

The validity of this report may not be like others because we all have different opinions about a lot of things including river health, eg my opinion is that the part of Styx river we assessed was fairly good.

Suggested changes 
A way you could help is by: 

  • not littering. 
  • making signs/pamphlets/stickers and sticking them or putting them in mailboxes explaining how to help 
  • For people with streams running through their houses or if you have one in a future house,    another way to help is to search up 'planting near rivers' and get the good bank stabilising plants to plant in your section of the stream, 

Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) 
Kaitiakitanga is about looking after the land and not being stupid with it, the māori people value Kaitiakitanga because it is what their ancestors did to help the future generation of people eg their children, making their world more healthy. 

By Casper


  1. Casper, you and your class have put so much thought and effort into this project. I am super proud of your report.

  2. Hi Casper. My name is Daniel Sutherland, I was a friend of your mothers when I lived in Christchurch years ago.
    I was impressed with the indepth study that you and your class mates conducted. I agree with your statement "The ecosystem is a very important part of the river", as you pointed out everything is interlinked. I learnt from your report that different species are dependent on each others well-being. And good quality drinking water is a reflection of a healthy ecosystem. Good work on your report, it was consise and informative. All the best.