Riparian Management Indicators (what we measure)
What Are Riparian Margins?
A riparian margin is a strip of land alongside a waterway where the water and land meet. It contributes to the natural functioning, quality and character of the waterway.
Riparian margins have the ability to prevent, correct or minimise the adverse effects of land based activities on the water quality and the aquatic environment. Improved riparian management can result in cleaner water, which can benefit stock and increase farm production. It also provides habitats for fish, birds and other animal life. Riparian management can enhance the visual attractiveness of a farm and provide more opportunities for recreational activities such as swimming.
Farming has a major influence on the quality of our rivers and streams. Stock effluent and stream bank erosion caused by grazing stock degrade our streams by adding pollutants and increasing sediment levels.
Farming is a dominant activity in our district and 2012 figures show that the Matamata-Piako district had an overall density of between 200 and 300 livestock per square kilometre, including the highest average density of dairy cattle in the country at 208 cattle per square kilometre.
The Waikato Regional Council is responsible for taking samples and measuring the health and bathing quality of our rivers and streams. It is important that we live in a healthy environment. Clean waterways and margins are important to flora and fauna. Unsatisfactory water quality has various negative effects, including making it difficult for aquatic animals to breathe and restricting plant growth. Water pollution can also be bad for human health.
The Waikato Regional Council monitors streams in seven locations within the Matamata-Piako District, which is part of the larger Hauraki water catchment zone. Measurements are taken for ecology with the indicators being dissolved oxygen, PH, turbidity, ammonia, temperature, total phosphorus, total nitrogen and also for bathing quality with the indicators being baseflow clarity and E-coli.
A new data set released by Waikato Regional Council shows in the following graphs the average scores for both ecology (green) and swimming (blue) for our main rivers in 2019. For references and more information please check this link.
Waihour River - Te Aroha
Waihou River - Okauia
Waitoa River - Landsdown Road
Piako River - Kiwitahi
In general the graphs show that:
- Dissolved oxygen levels in most rivers is excellent or satisfactory;
- PH levels in most rivers is excellent;
- Turbidity in most rivers ranges from satisfactory to unsatisfactory;
- Ammonia in most rivers is excellent;
- Temperature in most rivers is excellent or satisfactory;
- Total Phosphorus in most rivers is unsatisfactory;
- Total nitrogen in most rivers is unsatisfactory;
- Baseflow clarity in most rivers ranges from satisfactory to unsatisfactory;
- E-coli in most rivers ranges from satisfactory to unsatisfactory.