· The Northland Regional Council (NRC) undertakes water quality sampling at a number of freshwater sites across the region.
· The most popular freshwater bathing sites are sampled for 12 weeks over the summer months as part of the Recreational Bathing Water Quality Programme.
· Samples are taken once a week from each site and analysed for illness causing bacteria (E. Coli). Sites are graded depending on levels of bacteria - green for ‘safe', amber for ‘caution' or red for ‘unsafe'.
· Results are published at the end of each week on the NRC website, and are forwarded to the district councils and Northland District Health Board.
· A number of rivers and streams across the region are also sampled as part of the River Water Quality Monitoring Network (RWQMN).
· Samples are taken from each site once a month and analysed for a range of parameters. At the end of the year, sites are graded from best to worst water quality based on the season's results.
Continue to implement and improve a prioritised State of the Environment (SOE) monitoring programme and monitor compliance with, and the effects of, the exercise of resource consents and Regional Plans by:
· Operating a region-wide water quality network for the measurement, recording and reporting of river, lake and groundwater quality trends - ACHIEVED
· Carrying out sampling and reporting on summer coastal and freshwater bathing water quality - ACHIEVED
· Reporting to the Council annually on environmental monitoring activities within three months of the end of the financial year - ONGOING
· Making the results from the annual SOE monitoring programmes available on the Council's website at www.nrc.govt.nz - ACHIEVED
· During 2007-08, 19 freshwater sites were sampled for the Recreational Bathing Water Quality Programme.
· The median result was calculated at the end of the survey season for all 19 sites. Nine sites had a median score indicating that they were ‘safe' for recreational use; six sites had an amber or ‘caution' score and four sites had a median score indicating that they were "unsafe" for recreational use.
· The Suitability for Recreation Grade (SFRG) has been calculated for 16 freshwater sites with sufficient data. Of these 16 sites, eight have an interim SFRG of "poor" and eight have an interim SFRG of "very poor".
· Ten sites were added to the RWQMN in 2007-08, bringing the total number of sites in this network to 34.
· The river rated as having the best water quality in 2007-08 was the Waipoua River. The river rated as having the worst water quality was the Manganui River.