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Citizen Science 2019 - Freshwater

Finally all the results of August’s Citizen Science Month are in! A big thank you to all the volunteers who got involved and monitored reserve chew card lines, and to those of you at home and on the streets who reported weeds, bird counts, created photopoints and registered an interest in monitoring the health of our streams

Across the month 95 volunteers gave a whopping 265 hours of monitoring time. Their contribution to science helps us target campaigns and action for the care of certain areas of our Kaipātiki landscape.

You can read the results of each monitoring topic in our PFK blog (there are four), and if you want to get further involved and take action – all the information you will need to get started is in the blog on our website.

Pest Free Kaipātiki Restoration Society is committed to protecting and enhancing all forms of our native biodiversity through pest control and restoration. Wai ora literally refers to water, both as a resource and as an essential part of the environment that provides sustenance for life. Here in Kaipātiki we are lucky to have a diverse range of ecosystems, and many catchments and streams. Some are in good health which is wonderful, others poorly with pollution entering the waterway, banks invaded by environmental weeds and sediment from the built environment clogging up areas. We want clear, healthy streams with lots of shade and overhanging vegetation to provide food and homes for invertebrates, native fish and other forms of life - not to mention our own health and wellbeing! The first step towards this is adopting a stretch of water and monitoring it's health. The council's Healthy Waters Department is helping Pest Free Kaipātiki and our neighbours get going.

^ Image above: A healthy waterway is often shaded, has lots of native vegetation overhanging the water and runs clear.

A massive thank you to our funders and sponsors who provided spot prizes for participation and volunteering awards. Our thanks to the Kaipātiki Local Board, Auckland Council including the Research and Evaluation Unit and Birkenhead Licencing Trust for making Citizen Science Month possible. Thank you Kaipātiki Project, Bunnings Warehouse, New World, Key Industries, 100 Percent New Zealand, Te Ngahere, Samsung and Andrea Reid from Pollinator Paths for your generosity!


Current monitoring locations

The Auckland Council and Kaipātiki Project have a long history of monitoring the health of water in Kaipātiki streams. Healthy Waters (Auckland Council) monitor 8 sites in Kaipatiki, sampling the environment at each point once per month. This contributes to the larger water-quality programme being run by Auckland Councils RIMU (Research and Evaluation department).

^ Image above: Healthy Waters official stream monitoring sites - including Kaipatiki stream (Witheford reserve) , Eskdale stream, Kahika stream (Rangatira reserve), Wairau Creek (near Marlborough Park), Onepoto stream (Kauri glen reserve), Little Shoal Bay stream (Le Roys bush), Chelsea stream (Chatswood reserve) and Soldiers Bay stream (Kauri park domain).

On top of this, five sites are sampled by members of the Kaipatiki Project community group under the Wai Care programme and a number of schools have conducted sampling over the years.

^ Image above: Additional Wai Care programme sites in Kaipatiki - mostly schools!


Increasing freshwater monitoring - getting involved as a community

The above is a great start but we don't have information on how healthy other areas are. Hence, as part of Citizen Science month we asked you if you wanted to get involved and create some new monitoring locations, and survey them.

Thanks to Healthy Waters representative Stephanie, we are working towards providing monitoring training to reserve group representatives and landowners interested in freshwater.

Our aim is to see a few volunteers to come together and create at least one new monitoring station in a reserve of each of the six PFK Enhanced Halos, and supporting more to develop in streams on private property. Monitoring can be as simple as once per year during Citizen Science month, or more frequently to capture the differences in season.

If you want to register to attend one of these future training's (Train the Trainer style), email us at

What's involved:

Freshwater monitoring is quite simple, fun and very meaningful. Two types of tests are conducted that the whole family can do:

  • Physical/chemical tests - measuring water temperature, clarity, pH and nutrient levels

  • Biological tests - sampling and recording the range of macroinvertebrates (insects) found in a stream.

^ Image above: The tools and techniques in freshwater and fun and engaging. Become a citizen scientist by monitoring local streams in reserves and at home!

  1. PFK will help link you to a stream that matches your interest, ability and environmental priority.

  2. After training, we will encourage nearby neighbours to form a little group to ensure the monitoring is easily covered each year, and families get a chance learn and look after streams together.

  3. You will be equipped with the skills and technical equipment (From our PFK Toolshed) to monitor however frequently you want. This can be:

  • Annually (during citizen science month)

  • Seasonally (four times per year)

  • Monthly

  • or other - whatever you feel you would like to do.

  1. When you have completed your monitoring event (can take anywhere from an hour to a few hours depending on how interested in those little invertebrates you are!) - send a copy of your results to Pest Free Kaipatiki and via the WaiCare website (covered in training). PFK will compile and share the results overtime with the community, and if it is needed - take action to improve the health of the stream.


After monitoring, how can I make sure streams are protected?

Good practice at home is to:

  • Wash your car on the grass not on the road .

  • Never pour anything down a storm drain. They are for rain only.

  • Control and remove environmental weeds like ginger and tradescantia that are taking the place of natives on stream banks at home. Replace with appropriate natives to provide shade, shelter and food for freshwater life.

  • Be A Tidy Kiwi! Place litter securely in a rubbish bin so it can’t be blown out by the wind.

  • Any household hazardous waste (paint, paint thinners, garden sprays) can be taken to various transfer stations around Auckland (

  • If you spill paint or oil, use an old rag to clean it up. Never hose spills down a storm water drain.

  • Fix oil leaks in your car. Switch to organic gardening instead of using fertiliser or chemicals.

  • Control predators in your backyard, to help protect fish and invertebrates from rats and mice.

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