Farmers testing stream health

Mararoa Station farm business manager Matt Canton tests water clarity in Te Anau earlier this...
Mararoa Station farm business manager Matt Canton tests water clarity in Te Anau earlier this month. PHOTO: TERRI ANDERSON
Staff from the 15 Pāmu farms in the Te Anau basin have been learning how to test stream health, water quality and how to discover what species are living in the waterways on their farms.

Pāmu senior farm environment specialist Alison Worth said Waiau Trust freshwater ecologist Roger Hodson showed farm managers and their teams how to take water samples for testing for E. coli, nitrates and other contaminants, and samples for DNA testing from a waterway on Riverslea Farm.

Most waterways and wetlands had been fenced off on the Pāmu farms for many years, she said.

‘‘The farmers discussed how to build on that work including the importance of riparian planting to filter nutrients and slow water movement down, and creating shade for waterways to improve ecosystem health and provide habitats for water critters.’’

Environment Southland provided stream health and water testing gear for the day.

‘‘Farmers scooped up pebbles and organic matter from the stream bottom to identify invertebrates and stream bugs and analyse water clarity.’’

‘‘This process, carried out already on other Pāmu farms, has provided important discoveries and valuable insights into elusive native fish species, including the endangered giant kokapu and gollum galaxid in Waitepeka near Balclutha.’’

 

Southern Field Days 2024 - Featured Businesses