Projects

Freshwater Fish Survey

Freshwater Fish Survey

NZ Environmental was contracted by New Zealand Transport Agency to undertake a Freshwater Fish Survey, of the drain proximal to State Highway 10 bounding the Komutu Wetland, prior to maintenance works being carried out. The purpose of this survey was to determine fish species present and make recommendations for the management of the works to achieve minimal impact to the aquatic habitat.  

Eight species of fish were caught or observed during the survey including five species of native freshwater fish; shortfin eel [Anguilla australis], longfin eel [Anguilla dieffenbachii], common bully [Gobiomorphus cotidianus], giant bully [Gobiomorphus gobioides] and inanga [Galaxias maculatus]. The introduced pest fish, Gambusia or mosquitofish [Gambusia affinis], were widespread and the estuarine cockabully or triplefin [Grahamina nigripenne] were confined to the saline influenced tidal reaches of both drains surveyed. Grey mullet [Mugil cephalus] were observed in low numbers in both drains.

Inanga trapped for identification during a Freshwater Fish Survey in Komutu Swamp.

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Carrington Estate

Carrington Estate

Carrington Estate requested an Ecological Survey to validate the presence, location and characteristics of threatened species, endangered ecological communities and fauna habitat linkages. Ecological Surveys are undertaken to evaluate potential impacts of urban development on ecological attributes and to provide recommendations to mitigate or avoid potential effects.

Mike on the dunes at Carrington Estate during the Ecological Survey in 2014.

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Amenity Planting with Ecological Benefits

Amenity Planting with Ecological Benefits

Although restoration and amenity planting is not our core business, it provides rewarding visible outcomes and keeps us conscious of the practical challenges and costs. The work reminds us that protecting existing natural habitats is far easier than establishing or repairing compromised ones. It also helps us to be realistic when writing Management Plans and recommendations in reports or reviewing draft consent conditions.

One year after the concept plan was developed by ecologist/ artist Jono More, with South Canterbury deer farmer David Morgan.

The entrance to Raincliff Station as well as yard and riparian margins are graced with native plants.

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Erosion and Sediment Control Monitoring

Erosion and Sediment Control Monitoring

NZ Environmental undertake sediment control monitoring in order to ensure devices are installed and operating to required industry standards (Refer to Auckland Regional Council Technical Publication 90 (link to TP90) during earthworks for both large and small projects to minimise sediment entry to waterways. One of the consequences of sediment loading of streams is a reduction in light which degrades water quality and makes the environment unsatisfactory for aquatic fauna including both freshwater fish and invertebrates. We are up to date with current industry trends and best practice, which helps achieve compliance with Council standards to ensure minimal environmental impact on our receiving waterways.

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Electric Fishing at Glynn Wye Station

Electric Fishing at Glynn Wye Station

Electric fishing is used to stun fish, but not kill them, so that we get accurate identification of all species present in a stream or river. It is also useful for accurate monitoring of invertebrate life present in the waterway. This information is necessary for assessing the effects of activities for both new resource consent applications and for monitoring existing consent conditions where aquatic fauna values exist.

Dr Phillip Jellyman (NIWA) working on fish survey for the Kakapo Brook hydro-irrigation assessment of environmental effects.

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HAIL Assessments

HAIL Assessments

National Environmental Standards

The National Environmental Standards (NES) for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health took effect in January 2012. The NES are mandatory standards which function under the Resource Management Act 1991(RMA).

The focus of the NES is to protect human health. Contaminants are a problem when they are at a concentration and a place where they have, or are reasonably likely to have, an adverse effect on human health and the environment. Contaminants pose a greater risk where they are near buildings, people, and when they are in soil in which food is grown.

Regional and District Councils are required to implement the NES in order to ensure ‘land affected by contaminants in soil is appropriately identified and assessed when soil disturbance and/or land development activities take place and, if necessary, remediated or the contaminants contained to make the land safe for human use’ (NES 2012).

Under the NES, land is considered to be actually or potentially contaminated if an activity or industry on the Hazardous Activities or Industries List (HAIL) was, is, or is more than likely to have been, undertaken on that land. Further information on the HAIL list along with a list of the hazardous substances or contaminants typically associated with each activity or industry can be obtained from the following link;

http://www.mfe.govt.nz/land/hazardous-activities-and-industries-list-hail

Common HAIL activities and industries leading to contamination of properties in New Zealand include, among others:

  • the manufacture and use of pesticides (i.e. commercial spray contractors, some horticultural and agricultural practices);
  • the production, storage and use of petroleum (fuel) products;
  • timber treatment; and
  • sheep dipping.

The contaminants in soil left by these activities and industries include:

  • pesticides (such as DDT, DDD, and dieldrin);
  • metals (such as arsenic, chromium, copper, lead and mercury);
  • hydrocarbon compounds (derived from petroleum and plastics).

The NES takes into account the former, current and proposed land use and the resulting potential for contaminants. An initial NES assessment or Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) on HAIL land should be undertaken if you intend to do one of five activities:

  • Removing or replacing a fuel storage system,
  • Sampling the soil,
  • Disturbing the soil,
  • Subdividing land, and
  • Changing the use of the land.

The NES requires that a ‘suitably qualified and experienced practitioner’ certify preliminary and, if required, any follow-up investigation (Detailed Site Investigation) reports. This person is independent, applies good professional practice, and reports against contaminated land and industry guidelines.

Please contact NZ Environmental to establish if the NES applies for the land and activities proposed.

Cale taking soil samples for planned waste water treatment plant in Kerikeri.

Danette collecting soil samples.

Site validation sampling after removal of contaminated soils.

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Ngawha Geothermal Development

Ngawha Geothermal Development

Ngawha has been a fantastically interesting project. This is because it encompasses so many scientific, technical, cultural, political and planning aspects. Our involvement began after the Resource Consents to build a Pilot Power Station were issued, but before the local community were entirely convinced of the merits of doing so. Before any physical works or engineering could be carried out there was a Legal requirement to undertake a minimum of one year’s environmental monitoring to establish the background, or baseline. The data required needed to build on existing historical scientific information, and also fill any gaps that might be needed in the future to prove or disprove any operating induced effects on the environment.

In between setting up a meteorological station, measuring mercury and hydrogen sulphide in the air, sampling and documenting physical characteristics of springs, lakes, streams, habitats, and fauna there was also the need to liaise with District and Regional Councils, Department of Conservation, Carter Holt Harvey, and other neighbours, and establish a Community Liaison Committee, a Peer Review Panel, as well as participate in local public meetings. Approximately one year after this work began the Pilot Station was built.

Throughout this time, 1996 to the present, the environmental monitoring and Resource Consent compliance for the Ngawha Geothermal Development has been managed by NZ Environmental providing consistency and excellent integration of information. Despite unexpected surprises, such as the discovery of a new fish species, Northland Mudfish (Neochanna heleios), which is ranked as Nationally Endangered, Ngawha Geothermal Resource Company has produced electricity from a renewable source for the benefit of local consumers for almost 20 years. This has been possible because the system returns the ‘cooler’ geothermal fluid (brine) to the reservoir from which it originates where it is reheated by stored heat in the rocks, and because of responsible operational and environmental management.

Reference
Ngawha Geothermal Resource Company first engaged NZE to undertake scientific measurements in 1996. The data collected from this was a critical reference point for the monitoring and management of the 10MW Pilot Power Station, which was commissioned in 1998. Environmental monitoring and management during the operation of the Pilot Station was carried out to meet all Resource Consent Conditions and provided valuable data for modelling and evidence for Council and Environment Court Hearings for the second station which was commissioned in 2008 increasing the station output to 25MW. It has been invaluable for us to have NZE managing this work and advising us on ways of improving our environmental performance. It helps us to focus on our core business and provides an independent insight and check on our procedures and compliance.
Les Parker
Generation Manager

For anyone interested in the geothermal industry we recommend you look at the NZGA website.

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Restoration and Amenity Planting at Cleardale

Restoration and Amenity Planting at Cleardale

NZ Environmental staff and contractors have managed the realignment of the road and penstock and restoration planting in lower montane zone where the Cleardale hydro-station was built in 2010. The power station is operated on private land generating power and providing metered water supply to irrigate crops on the owner's farm. MainPower owns the power station and manages the electricity it generates. The Cleardale power station diverts water from the upper reaches of Little River and passes the water through penstocks and returns the water to the same river 300 metres down gradient of the intake. The plant generates up to 1MW of electricity and produces enough power on average to satisfy the needs of 4-500 homes. The Cleardale scheme is a good example of cooperation in utilizing resources for the good of both the landowner and the public with minimal environmental effects.

Tricia collecting silver tussock (Poa cita) seed for the hydro-seeding of areas where planting is not practical.

Amenity planting by the station three years on.

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