There's lots of different types of waterways in New Zealand, like a man made ones and then there's the natural waterways. When the rain goes into the drain, it then goes down the pipes and into the stormwater system and then out to the rivers or streams. If the rain lands on the grass or concrete then it sinks down into the aquifers. After that they pump it up and then it goes into our taps so we can drink it.
Habitats are a place where animals live and breed and feed. Ducks and submerged plants connect because the duck likes to use the stream for loafing and the submerged plants are vital because duck eats the submerged plants.
The plants need a special temperature of water to grow. The insects need the plants to breed and hide. The insects also use the submerged plants for shelter. The submerged plants keep the waterways healthy.
Macroinvertebrates have no backbone. The mayfly (a macroinvertebrate) connects to how much algae is in the river because algae are little plants in the water, and if there’s too much this makes it that the mayfly can't live there.
Submerged plants and the common bully are connected because they both have good habitats for breeding. And the bully uses the submerged plant for hiding and feeding if the submerged plant wasn't there then the common bully wouldn't have anywhere to live and breed. So everything in a habitat is connected to something else in some way so we need to look after all of it to keep it healthy.
If you find a waterway then you can tell if it's a healthy waterway because of the animals in it and other indicators. Finding macroinvertebrate such as mayfly or a stonefly and even a caddis fly larvae can tell you that it is a healthy waterway. If the waterways were unhealthy then it would have worms and snails then you can tell if it's a unhealthy waterway.
Water that's warmer than 20 degrees celsius doesn't carry that much oxygen in the water and that means that the invertebrates and fish will die. Too much algae is bad for the water because it makes it dirty and not healthy.
Testing our waterways.
We visited different waterways in Christchurch. We used the “In-stream and riparian habitat survey” to decide how healthy the water was.
We also used a magnifying glass to look at invertebrates to classify them and count them. We were looking through the magnifying glass and as well we looked at a map it had all the types of invertebrates. One of the really hard ones to find is this worm/centipede. Then we went on to the people who work at the river, and they were teaching as about the different types of macro invertebrates. It was really cool because they would teach us all about them like the backswimmer. It has no backbone and it eats the common bully that was really weird because the common bully is fatter than the backswimmer. And there's different types of under water Invertebrates so the common bully and the backswimmer are invertebrates but then the mayfly and stonefly and caddisfly larvae are macroinvertebrates that was weird.
We also measured how far we could see a magnet into the turbidity tube to find out how clear the water was.
The Stormwater Drain.
The stormwater drain behind our school had lots of rubbish and that's bad because it's litter and the invertebrates won't want to live there because it has rubbish in it. There was no shade and that's not good because if there was shade then the water would be nice and cool and then the invertebrates can live there because invertebrates like cold water and it's better for them to breed.
There was lots of mud in the stormwater drain and mud is very bad for the stormwater drain because it turns the water murky and this would put all the sediment in the water. It is bad to have murky water because the invertebrates and fish can't breath. Also the stream bank was poor because 75% of the stream bank is looking like it could collapse and then it puts all the sediment and grass in the stormwater drain the invertebrates and fish can't breath.
Although there are parts of the waterway ecosystem that are unhealthy we could change the health by:
- putting signs up saying please don't dump rubbish.
- putting native trees around them to keep it cool, and use the roots for holding up the bank. If we make sure that we keep the banks stable the sediment doesn't get in the water.
- Keep un-native plants away from the river because they don't keep the water healthy and then it makes algae. A waterway with lots of algae in the water means you cannot swim in it.
- Make sure that the branches aren't hanging over the storm water drain or rivers or lakes so they don't make some algae.
- And also check it most days because if we leave it for a week it could get unhealthy again
- Do not put cigarettes down there to keep it healthy
Why these changes are important.
We need to keep our waterways for fishing and swimming. No one would want to swim in a murky lake/river, and our stormwater drains lead to these waterways.
Kaitiakitanga is a Maori cultural value that means to protect the land and waterways so that the animals stay alive and we can stay healthy. So this Maori value will help to keep nature going on in a circle of life.
We can have a nice life looking at and catching the animals, and enjoy fishing for them too. Fish, birds and invertebrates need our help and we need to clean the water. We need to look after these streams like our ancestors did and keep it healthy.