Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Our Christchurch waterways
Part 3: The connections between our waterways
Part 4: Indications of a healthy waterway
Part 5: Testing our waterways
Part 6: Our results
Part 7: The test's validity
Part 8: How to keep a waterway clean
Part 9: kaitiakitanga
There are many waterways in Christchurch. Like the Avon, or as it's known in Maori culture, the Otakaro. Many of them are natural, but a few of them are man made. We are lucky many of our waterways are clean, so we can use them for things like punting, canoeing, water skiing and fishing. There are a lot of rivers outside of Christchurch, like the Hurunui, the Waimakariri, and more. Our tributaries help because they flow through our Christchurch area into many of our well-known riverways (like the Styx river, which flows through Willowbank, right into Styx mill and into Brooklands lagoon.)
Our Christchurch waterways
Our groundwater connects to the southern alps because that is where a lot of it originated. This happens because the snow on the southern alps turns to water, flows through the dirt to get underground and then goes into our aquifers. Our water stays very clean during the process. So clean that our water is some of the cleanest in the world. These things make me wonder: how does our water stay clean if it's traveling through dirt?
Our springs connect to aquifers because aquifers are the cause of them. When the water in the aquifers becomes stuck when it hits things like clay, it has nowhere to go except up. So it goes up. It's a bit like putting finger in a hose that's on and then taking it out. When the water releases itself up, it's known as a spring. I wonder: why can't the water go around the object that's blocking it?
Surface and stormwater connect to rivers because when rain falls on concrete it becomes trapped. So then it runs into the drains, into the stormwater and into the rivers. I wonder why people put concrete on the paths? Our wetlands connect to our stormwater system because the things in our stormwater system get washed into our wetlands. Why does our stormwater flow into our waterways and pollute them?
Our drains connect to our swamps because different drains connect with our swamps like the one on Anzac drive (Christchurch). I wonder why our swamps have to connect with our drains because things like car wash get washed into our drains and pollute them.
The connections between our Ecosystem:
The river's ecosystem is a series of different habitats, creatures and other things. But, if one thing falls, the whole ecosystem will collapse.
The pukeko thrives in its swampy habitat when it searches for treats and eats roots and shoots from the river bank also known as vegetation. I wonder if vegetation would need pukeko to stop it from getting out of control.
Vegetation and paradise ducks connect because paradise ducks eat native grass' on the bank while sheltering in other plants. Vegetation and mud fish connect because mud fish spend most of their time in wetlands, weed filled creeks or drains. Wetlands have a lot of vegetation around. The mud fish connects to the freshwater crayfish because it protects it along with many other species of water creatures. Like dragonflies and freshwater mussels.
The freshwater crayfish is one of the eels foods that it searches for in the night while hiding
amongst plants and rocks. The eel loves the shade because that helps it to keep cool on sunny days. I wonder if the shade keeps it dark at daytime so they can hunt things like freshwater crayfish.
Water temperature connects to the shade because the shade cools down the water to make a great environment for macro-invertebrates (such as the mayfly larvae). Water temperature is also important because that can help with knowing if a waterway is clean or not. Mayfly larvae and water temperature connect because dark water can absorb heat from sunlight which makes the water temperature rather high and mayfly larvae and other macro-invertebrates prefer water under 12° C. Mayfly larvae connect to the common bully because mayfly larvae are a food source for them. The common bully is also a food source for other water creatures. Rapids and mayfly larvae connect because Rapids trap air bubbles into the water so the mayfly larvae can breath. This is another thing that makes a good habitat for fussy macro-invertebrates.
Mayfly larvae, freshwater crayfish and sediment all connect with each other because if there is sediment (mud) on the stream bed, the crayfish will eat parts of the sediment. If there isn't much sediment on the stream bed, mayfly larvae will want to live there or nearby.
Indications of a healthy waterway
There are many indicators of a healthy river or other waterway that are also part of the ecosystem. These include macroinvertebrates (also known as invertebrates), water temperature and algae.
Some macroinvertebrates are indicators of a healthy waterway. Snails and worms can live in can live in any situation, whether lack of air or too much sediment. They aren't fussy invertebrates and they aren't indicators of a healthy waterway. Water boatman and backswimmers are little fussy and care more about their habitat. Caddisfly and stonefly are very fussy and only live in the best habitats.
In a perfect waterway, the water would be cooler than 12° C. If not, you would only find snails and worms and it won't be a healthy area. But the shade also affects the water. The more shade you find, the cooler the water temperature will be and the More macroinvertebrates you will find.
Algae can be bad and good for waterway health. It grows on the river bed and could get out of control if it isn't eaten by fish and invertebrates. Long, stringy layers are indicators of poor river health. But small, thin layers are good.
Erosion is a big indicator of river health. You can tell if there's been erosion because the river bank will be crumbling and will be a few steps away from the river. No erosion is good because if there is erosion there will sediment. Which is fine for freshwater crayfish.
Turbidity is not good for the waterways health. If it's unhealthy the water will be dirty and will be carrying sediment which can clog up the gills of fish and macroinvertebrates
Extremely healthy waterway:
Testing our waterways
Our class traveled to different waterways in the local area of Christchurch. We tested and measured waterways like creeks, streams, rivers and stormwater drains. We used different tools like a clarity tube, (which is something you put water in and then you have a disc inside that you pull back in the water in the tube and you see how far can go using a handle on top to move the disc. We stop moving the disc when we can't see very well) sieve on a stick, a spoon, (We used the sieve on a stick and the spoon for finding invertebrates like water boatman and backswimmers) and eye droppers. One of our rivers total scores of cleanliness was very good; it had water boatman and backswimmers which are a sign of a healthy river.
I have chosen to share my results for a stormwater drain near our school. I have a list of things that need to be improved here:
Stream flow- it had no water in it because it is a stormwater drain and it won't always have water in it.
Shade- it had next to no shade over it which would make the water rather hot when there some there because not enough plants have been planted
Sediment- it had a bad score score there aren't any trees near
The riparian zone (the height of the trees, bushes etc around the waterway) there aren't many high trees around the waterway (Not that there are any) because, again there haven't been planted
Types of plants around the edge- there weren't any native ones because again and again and again, I keep having to repeat myself, THERE HAVEN'T BEEN ENOUGH PLANTED!!!
This stormwater drain has a score of... Good- a score of 25
The test's validity:
If you look at others people’s waterway reports in my class, you will see that not all of us have chosen to find results for Dudley creek and not all of have the same scores for Dudley creek. This is because not everyone tested the water at the same spot and nearly everybody has different opinions.
How to keep a waterway clean
We have many types of waterways in Christchurch. But people are feeding our water animals the wrong foods and our rivers, streams, lakes and creeks are being contaminated by humans. This is what you can do to help:
Don't wash your car(s) on our driveways. If you wash cars on driveways, the chemicals from the car wash flows into our drains, into our stormwater system and into our waterways.
Don't feed ducks bread. It sounds weird, I know, but bread is not at all good for ducks. Feed them grape quarters + peas and sweetcorn.
Don't leave dog droppings in gutters and drains. Water will wash them into the stormwater system and into our waterways.
DON'T PUT RUBBISH IN YOUR POCKET. Big fat no. (Unless your pocket has a zip).
We should take this action because this will make the water sustainable and keep it healthy for future generations. In Maori culture, this is known as kaitiakitanga. When the land and the water is healthy, it will provide mahinga kai (food from nature).