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Freshwater report card, East Coast Bays reporting area 2016

Area grade: C

What makes up this grade?

The overall grade is made up of five indicators:

Water quality: Water samples are tested for temperature, oxygen concentration, turbidity and the levels of pH, ammonia and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus). The results of this testing are compared against guidelines for Auckland to produce a water quality index.

Flow patterns: This involves monitoring the hydrologic connectivity of the river to upstream and downstream reaches and the floodplain using the Stream Ecological Valuation (SEV), which is a method of assessing the ecological health of our rivers.

Nutrient cycling: This involves monitoring the inputs and processing of minerals, particulates and contaminants using the SEV biogeochemical functions.

Habitat quality: This involves monitoring the diversity and quality of habitats using the
SEV habitat provision functions.

Biodiversity: Field assessments and samples are collected to assess the type and amount of native plants and animals using the SEV biodiversity functions.

Quick facts

  • The reporting Area covers 29KM2 representing 0.6% of the region
  • The land cover is mainly urban (50%) with substantial pockets of native (19%) and pastoral (28%) vegetation
  • The extent of impervious surface (hard surfaces) is high (29%) when compared with the regional average of 9%

Monitoring background and interpretation

Auckland Council’s State of the Environment (SoE) monitoring programme has been building a record of Auckland’s environment for more than 25 years. This information is critical to the effective management of Auckland’s natural environment, after all, you can’t manage what you don’t monitor.

The monitoring programme shows there is a strong relationship between the health of rivers and the type of land cover in the surrounding catchment. Rivers that drain through forested catchments (particularly native forests) typically have excellent water quality and ecology, while rivers that drain from urban catchments typically have poor water quality and ecology.

The health of the East Coast Bay’s rivers is impaired, but the relatively low intensity of urban development, together with large areas of forested land, means the effects of urban development in this area are not as strong as elsewhere in the region.

Rivers in the East Coast Bays reporting area tend to have riparian margins with some trees and bush, which provide shade, leaf litter and woody debris to the stream and anchor the stream banks. The debris enhances the quality of habitat for flora and fauna, although some of the original riparian vegetation has been removed to allow more intensive land use.

Wai Care Hibiscus and Bays

Wai Care is a water quality education, monitoring and action programme managed by Auckland Council, for schools and community groups in the Auckland region.

The following table shows achievements of the Wai Care Programme in Hibiscus and Bays during the 2015/2016 financial year.

​Achievement​Total Hibiscus and Bays 2015/16​Total Auckland 2015/16
​Active groups9​152
​Sites monitored​34​256
​Education sessions​16​373
​Students involved in education​888​11118
​Action events​2​106

​People involved in action

​Native trees planted​-​28577

For more information on Wai Care, or to view site data for your area, go to
or call 09 301 0101 and ask for Wai Care.