Good management of the coastal environment depends on measuring what is happening in the water and what trends may be developing. In Marlborough the Council’s coastal monitoring strategy aims to create a baseline of information on the health of the coastal marine area and provide technical information to help understand any changes in the future.
Coastal monitoring is required under the Resource Management Act and provides essential information for good decisions on resource consents, future planning and protection for the Sounds.
Water quality monitoring was established in Queen Charlotte Sound in 2011 and in Pelorus Sound in 2012. Information collected each month on temperature, nutrient levels, phytoplankton and seawater chemistry is proving to be important for understanding how the Sounds ecosystems work.
Council is also monitoring the health of estuaries; ship-wake effects on intertidal communities and beaches; and significant marine sites for biodiversity.
Council’s coastal monitoring data will contribute to National Environmental Reporting. For example, recreational bathing water quality data feeds into a national database run by Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA).