Muaupoko project update June 2012

Community engagement in the Muaūpoko Coastal Research Project has so far exceeded expectations. A lot of whanau and manuhiri have volunteered time to assist us in the mahi and to build test equipment. Even more people have turned out for the two shellfish sampling exercises.

The first winter sampling was done in July 2011, the second in January 2012. The second sampling doubled up as a field trip for the students from the Ecological Economics Atelier course through Massey University. The third exercise is scheduled to take place in July 2012.

Sampling is best to coincide with low tides and the right moon phase so that shellfish collection is easier. Initially sampling was to happen at five sample sites spaced out along the beach between Hokio Stream and Waitarere. So far it has proven impossible to conclude all five samples in the time available around low tide. Two sites have been done instead – at low and mid tide locations.

The focus in the first two exercises was on building capacity and the next sampling exercises will see two teams going out working in parallel to cover all four sites. Events are being recorded on fact sheets and video. Results to date show:

  • That a number of organisms and variety of organisms are present in the sand, although two digs reported no living organisms. Further research has to be done into what should be found at the beach and how this compares to the actual findings  
  • The only Pippi we found were juveniles, but at least we know they are breeding  
  • No Toheroa were found, consistent with local knowledge that the beds are not there

The project has so far come in under budget, which is mainly due to the fact that many people have volunteered time and equipment. This gives Muaūpoko the opportunity to add some more activities in the project going forward. This will be a combination of more interactive community based learning and an expansion of skills into freshwater quality sampling techniques.

By adding additional sampling techniques to the program, participants will add to their kete a wider range of modern techniques for detecting harmful paru (Pathogens, Metals, sediments etc) in fresh waterways. We are currently exploring the possibility of hooking up with Ngati Kauwhata to share their experiences with research being undertaken on the Oroua River.

Research Project Update

 

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