Monitoring undertaken by the NRC falls into two distinct categories:
· State of the Environment (SoE) Monitoring
Compliance monitoring relates to the interaction between people and the environment. Therefore, compliance monitoring is tied into the enforcement of resource consents, rules in regional plans and other statutory environmental standards. Compliance monitoring is a tool to measure and thus indirectly help minimise the impact that people's actions have on the environment.
SoE monitoring is primarily used to develop ‘snapshots' of the state of Northland's environment. It is impossible to monitor all the variables that make up our environment, so select ‘indicators', such as particulate matter in air or nitrate levels in water are chosen as representative markers. Using a range of indicators, it is possible to determine the quality of our general (or background) environment.
Once background information has been collected for a number of years, it is also possible to analyse environmental trends, which can impact upon regional plans and thus resource consents. This information also helps guide investigative sampling, which is used to isolate the cause of an environmental issue. Generally, this trend analysis is not discussed in the AMR but it is included where relevant.