Ipipiri ecological survey
Northland Regional Council (NRC) supports the ‘Ipipiri ecological survey’ – a project developed by local researchers, Ngati Kuta and NIWA, to survey the ecology of the semi-sheltered waters located between the central islands of the eastern Bay of Islands and the Rāwhiti channel. The area is thought to contain some of Northland’s best-known examples of algae turf beds, subtidal seagrass and rhodolith beds.
Drop cameras, under water video, drones, and multibeam echosounders were used to survey the area. Extensive beds of turf algae have been identified around the islands, extending to depths of 12 metres.
Analysis of the images is ongoing, with a habitat map of the area to be created.
Stormwater plastic project
Plastic is one of the biggest pollutants of our oceans and can have damaging, or even lethal effects on animals that ingest it or get entangled in it. Plastic also affects the aesthetics and amenity value of our coast.
To estimate how much plastic and litter is reaching our rivers and estuaries each year, we have teamed up with NorthTec, Whitebait Connection, Whangārei District Council, Far North District Council, Kaipara District Council and Northland District Health Board to install ‘Litta Traps’.
The traps are simple cost-effective nets that fit inside stormwater grates to trap plastic and litter pollution that would otherwise be carried by stormwater straight to the sea. We have installed 50 traps at a variety of locations across the region (including playgrounds, car parks, supermarkets, fast food premises, and industrial sites).
NorthTec will audit the contents of the traps every three months to identify high risk land uses and estimate how much plastic gets washed into the sea. This information will help us to develop targeted mitigation and education resources.
Local iwi and NRC have teamed-up with the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) and Scion to find out more about microplastic contamination in Northland.