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New ‘The Waters of the Waikato’ resource for decision makers

A new book due for launching next month on the Waikato River from Taupo to Port Waikato will be an important resource for decision makers considering future management of the river. It will also be useful for people interested in water quality, ecological issues and life in the river generally.

Environment Waikato’s environment committee today received a report on The Waters of the Waikato: the Ecology of New Zealand’s longest river from one of its organizers, Dr Kevin Collier, an Environment Waikato freshwater ecologist and senior lecturer at the University of Waikato.

"The book is a synthesis of information about the river today from a wide range of sources. It is a real partnership, featuring 48 authors writing about a range of issues, including iwi values, water quality and the ecological health of the river. It is designed to help people understand what lives in the river and the environmental issues it faces," said Dr Collier.

To be published by Environment Waikato and Waikato University’s Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research, the book’s development has also involved collaboration with the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and 13 other organisations.

This is the third The Waters of the Waikato publication – the previous two were published in 1971 and 1981.

"The 15 chapters in the latest book highlight information gaps and emerging issues that will help guide decision makers in their consideration of future river management issues," said Dr Collier.

Some important issues highlighted in the book include:

· The role of land management in maintaining water quality, reducing nutrient and sediment levels in the river, and protecting wetlands and lakes linked to the river

· The effect of pests such as koi carp, grey willow and introduced weeds on water quality and native fish and plant life

· How man-made structures can affect the movement and breeding of fish in the river.

"Having such a written resource available is important at a time when new river co-management arrangements with iwi are being implemented, and as the Waikato River faces a range of challenges to its ecological health," said Dr Collier.

"Besides the way that human activities affect river flows, sediment and water quality, the book also considers ecological issues affecting plankton, invertebrate life, fish and birds, such as the impact of introduced pests on river health."

The book features chapters devoted to the lowland lakes and wetlands on the river floodplain, which form an important part of the lower river ecosystem.

"All of these issues need close attention if we are to protect water quality and ensure that healthy river systems can support abundant and diverse native aquatic life," said Dr Collier

Contributors to the book include scientists, academics, iwi and environment management agencies, including the Department of Conservation and Fish & Game New Zealand.

The Waters of the Waikato is due to have a print run of 500. Copies will be available from the library at Environment Waikato.

For more information contact Dr Collier on 0800 800 401 or email

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