Our freshwater baseline states
The purpose of the Freshwater Plan is to maintain, or improve where necessary, the state of our freshwater resources and environments - and it is difficult to do that without first knowing what the baseline state is.
The baseline states provide a basis for determining long-term visions, freshwater objectives and setting target attribute states for our freshwater and the time frames to get there. It will also be used along with other information to identify priority areas for any potential rule changes and targeted action plans.
Under the Government’s policy direction (NPS-FM), we’re required to set baseline states for the 22 compulsory freshwater attributes (PDF, 1.1MB), such as water quality, physical habitat, or levels of E.coli, for example. An attribute is essentially something we can measure and monitor and which tells us about the state of a freshwater system.
What are our current baselines states?
In Northland, we have used data from 2015-2019 to determine the baseline state for most of the compulsory river attributes and 2016-2020 for the compulsory lake attributes. We have also included a few extra attributes that we think are important to Northland. There are a few attributes where we have yet to collect enough information to determine the baseline state.
Wetlands used to cover around 20% of Northland. Today, the remaining wetlands that cover approximately 5% of Northland’s land area, are many (more than c. 1,000) and fragmented. While we have data on some of these wetlands, we don’t have enough to give the full picture on the state of our wetlands. So, we are in the process of developing a wetland monitoring programme to provide us with an assessment of the wetland baseline state across the region.