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Monitoring framework for the Waikato coastal marine area: Report 3 – Seabed and water column monitoring and standards

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Report: TR 2015/40

Author: Barrie Forrest & Chris Cornelisen (Cawthron Institute)

About this report

This is one of three reports that present a framework for regional environmental monitoring in the coastal marine area (CMA), with particular emphasis on supporting more effective environmental monitoring of consented activities.

The main objectives of this framework are integration of state of the environment (SOE) and consent-related environmental monitoring, alignment of interests (relevant information for industry, council and communities), consistency (within region, among activities and, where possible, national), cost-effectiveness, certainty (providing clear guidance to consent applicants) and better management of cumulative effects in the consent process.

Report 1 (TR 2015/38) outlines the framework. Aquaculture was chosen as the first case study for this framework, and reports 2 and 3 (TR 2015/39 and TR 2015/40) apply the framework to current and future aquaculture activities in the Waikato region.

More specifically:

Report 1: Monitoring framework (TR 2015/38)
Presents the rationale and key elements of a regional monitoring framework that integrates monitoring associated with consented activities and wider SOE monitoring.

Report 2: Regional guidance on priority issues and monitoring (TR 2015/39)
Covers the ecological effects of aquaculture in the Waikato CMA and identifies the priority issues that need to be addressed through industry best practice and reporting, and/or through monitoring of effects.

Report 3: Monitoring methodologies and standards (TR 2015/40)
Recommends methodologies and standards for monitoring the seabed, water column and the wider environment in relation to the potential effects of aquaculture.

The focus of the work to date was on developing the framework and developing guidance to support future application to aquaculture. These three reports propose conceptual approaches for standards that can be developed over time as more data becomes available and as individual consents are addressed.

Waikato Regional Council commissioned the Cawthron Institute to prepare these three reports. We acknowledge the support from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Aquaculture Planning Fund.

Read or download the report

Monitoring framework for the Waikato coastal marine area: Report 3 – Seabed and water column monitoring and standards (2mb)

Contents

1 Introduction
1.1 Report aim and objectives
1.2 Overview of aquaculture in the Waikato CMA
2 Monitoring seabed effects
2.1 Proposed approach to seabed monitoring
2.1.1 Indicators of seabed enrichment
2.1.2 Integration of variables and enrichment stage
2.1.3 Implementing a 'zones' approach
2.2 Determining baseline conditions
2.2.1 Data type, intensity and spatial coverage
2.2.2 Seabed characterisation
2.2.3 Biotic indices
2.2.4 Enrichment stage scores
2.3 Recommended protocols and standards for seabed monitoring
2.3.1 Monitoring protocols
2.3.2 Environmental quality standards
2.4 Remaining gaps to be filled prior to implementing environmental quality standards
3 Monitoring water-column effects
3.1 Existing data and knowledge
3.2 Recommendations for water-column monitoring for consents
3.2.1 Water-column monitoring for non-feed-added aquaculture
3.2.2 Water-column monitoring for feed-added aquaculture
3.2.3 Protocols and standards for water-column monitoring
3.3 Remaining gaps to be filled prior to implementation
4 State of the environment monitoring
4.1 Indicator approach to SOE monitoring in the Waikato CMA
4.1.1 Identifying environmental indicators and integrated indices
4.1.2 Developing standards
4.1.3 Monitoring design considerations
5 Integrating consent and state of the environment monitoring
5.1 Recommendations for maximising benefits from integration
6 References
7 Appendices
  Appendix 1: Evolution of seabed monitoring for salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds
  Appendix 2: Table of Firth of Thames (and inner Hauraki Gulf) datasets containing water column information
  Appendix 3: Stressor and toxicant guidelines for the protection of saltwater aquaculture species