Case Studies

Hauraki Gulf State of the Environment Report:

Hauraki Gulf Forum

Coast and Catchment were contracted to act as lead author for the 2011 and 2014 State of the Hauraki Gulf reports.  The 2011 report broke new ground for environmental reporting in New Zealand.  It describes the incredible transformation that the Gulf has undergone in two human life spans.  The 2011 report provides a much clearer picture of the environmental condition of the Gulf than was previously available, and presents trends in environmental quality and ecosystem health.  Some positive trends were recorded, but most environmental indicators either showed negative trends or remained at levels that are indicative of poor environmental condition. 

The 2014 State of the Hauraki Gulf report demonstrates that in most areas, little progress has been made on improving ecosystem health of the Hauraki Gulf over the past three years. Major changes in management are required to prevent further losses of the Gulf’s natural habitats.


These reports have generated considerable public, political and media interest.  Coast and Catchment have assisted the Hauraki Gulf Forum by disseminating information through public meetings and seminars, participating in media interviews, and providing follow-up advice and recommendations.



- 2011 Hauraki Gulf State of the Environment Report »

- Hauraki Gulf Forum »

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Aquaculture consent monitoring and impact assessments:

Biomarine Ltd.

Coast and Catchment provide impact assessments and resource consent monitoring for several aquaculture companies, facilitating the renewal of resource consents or the approval of new farming space. For example, Coast and Catchment are assisting Biomarine with their staged oyster farm development in Kaipara Harbour, which is subject to strict environmental monitoring and assessment criteria. Our expertise has been used to monitor the effects of farm development on chlorophyll a, seagrass, benthic ecology and sediment quality since 2008. We understand the challenges facing aquaculture operations and work closely with Biomarine to ensure their regulatory and operational needs are met.

We also seek opportunities to add value to the services we provide. For instance, seagrass shading was a major issue identified during consenting. In conjunction with the University of Auckland, we coordinated and supported a study by an MSc student on the effects of seagrass shading by the farm. The study demonstrated that reductions in light caused by the farm were not great enough to prevent seagrass occupying the area, and that the oyster farm was having no detectable impact on seagrass distribution beneath the farm.

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Aquaculture Biosecurity Survey:

Ministry for Primary Industries

StyelaCoast and Catchment were contracted to conduct two nationwide surveys on the biosecurity awareness, concerns, needs and practices of aquaculture farmers in New Zealand. The project involved an online survey and face-to-face interviews with aquaculture farmers throughout the country. Results highlighted that, at present, the aquaculture industry is vulnerable to a pest or disease outbreak, and there are few preventative practices currently in place. Recommendations made to improve biosecurity in the aquaculture industry include: better communication between MPI and industry; the need to improve the MPI-industry relationship and establish trust between parties; better biosecurity education of the industry; and the development of practical methods for reducing and managing biosecurity transmission risk such as Aquaculture Management Areas and disease surveillance programmes.

This project allowed Coast and Catchment to establish good relationships with the majority of aquaculture farmers in the country, who were very supportive of the project. MPI feedback stated that the report was "one of the best reports received for an Operational Research funded project".

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Auckland Stormwater Assessments and Catchment Plans:

Auckland Council

StormwaterCoast and Catchment were commissioned by Auckland Council to prepare stormwater environmental assessments and catchment plans for the Waitemata, Manukau and Greater Tamaki Catchments. The associated stormwater discharge and diversion consents are the largest of their type in New Zealand, and cover a high proportion of Auckland’s urban isthmus. The concepts developed during this project are now being adopted for the Stormwater Unit as models for use in other catchments and in its regional assessment and prioritisation programmes.

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Monitoring Programme for the Mangere Wastewater Treatment Plant:

Watercare Services Ltd

WatercareCoast and Catchment were commissioned by Watercare Services to review and revise their harbour monitoring for New Zealand’s largest wastewater treatment plant at Mangere. The project led to significant changes being made, and transitioned the monitoring programme from its focus on the plant upgrade in 2002, to tracking the long-term effects of the wastewater discharge. The monitoring programme is now focused on assessing key environmental issues and ensuring that the monitoring results can be put into context. We have subsequently been commissioned to coordinate annual reporting, and regularly provide input on associated environmental matters.

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Wellington City Stormwater Discharge Consents:

Greater Wellington Regional Council

Coast and Catchment were contracted to provide technical input into a resource consent application by Wellington City Council to discharge stormwater from their city-wide network. Coast and Catchment assisted with the preparation of a technical report on environmental aspects of the application, participation at pre-hearing meetings with submitters, negotiations with the applicant, preparation of consent conditions, and officer attendance at the hearing.


Most of the issues associated with the application were able to be resolved prior to the hearing, and the consent was subsequently granted with conditions requiring appropriate monitoring, and the development of integrated catchment management plans. These conditions will allow progressive improvements to stormwater quality to be made in Wellington City.


Coast and Catchment were subsequently commissioned as the technical reviewer for the first stage of the stormwater integrated catchment management plans produced by Capacity Infrastructure Services and Wellington City Council.

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Policy advice on the draft Auckland Unitary Plan

Auckland Council

BoatsIn 2012 Auckland Council contracted Coast and Catchment to provide technical reviews and policy analyses for two issues: 1) dredging, and 2) sewage discharge from vessels. These reviews were used to inform policy development for the draft Auckland Unitary Plan. The dredging review summarised the policies and rules that regulate dredging activities in the Auckland Region, and provided a technical evaluation of publicly available information obtained through the monitoring of dredging effects. The sewage discharge review assessed the effectiveness of current Marine Pollution Regulations, outlined enforcement options of existing regulations; and, identified alternative options for managing sewage discharges from vessels.



- Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan

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Oruarangi Creek Pollution Assessment:

Oruarangi Creek PollutionOn the 1 July 2013, 1000 litres of methyl violet dye was accidentally spilled in the Oruarangi Creek. Coast and Catchment were contracted to provide an immediate assessment of the scale and potential impact of the pollution event. A team of marine and freshwater scientists were mobilised within a week of the pollution event to assess the impact. Coast and Catchment conducted a comprehensive assessment of the Oruarangi Creek and the surrounding estuary. Hundreds of quadrats were assessed for dye coverage and macrofaunal health, which were used to generate maps depicting the spatial extent and severity of the pollution.

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Kaipara Harbour Scallops:

Ministry of Fisheries

The commercial scallop fishery in Kaipara Harbour was closed to commercial fishing in 1986, and community concern about non-commercial extraction led to a temporary closure of the non-commercial Kaipara Harbour scallop fishery in 2005. Coast and Catchment were commissioned to conduct a survey of the Kaipara Harbour scallop beds prior to them being reopened to non-commercial fishers in November 2009.

The study estimated the distribution, size structure and relative abundance of scallops in the Kaipara Harbour, and compared the latest results with information obtained in 2007. The results will assist tangata whenua and MPI when making future management decisions about the Kaipara fishery.

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Whangateau catchment and harbour study:

Auckland Regional Council

Whangateau Harbour is regarded as one of the highest quality estuaries in the Auckland region. It is recognised for its clean water, regionally-rare mix of habitats, fish nurseries and abundant shellfish beds. The harbour is a particularly important food gathering area for hapu and recreational harvesters. However, land-use intensification and the increasing pressure on Whangateau Harbour’s resources have led to concerns about the long-term sustainability of the harbour ecosystem.

Coast and Catchment reviewed the physical and ecological characteristics of the harbour and assessed the threats to it. The results indicated that existing land-based and coastal activities were having a significant, cumulative impact on the ecological, conservation, landscape and natural character values of the harbour. Shane prepared a detailed report for the Council, and presented the results to the community at a workshop, and during a Conservation Week field trip. Auckland Council is addressing issues in the harbour through its Sustainable Catchment Programme. That programme aims to improve outcomes through the integration and sharing of information, and on-the-ground action. A key part of that that initiative involves the Council working closely with the Whangateau community, which is seeking robust, long-term solutions.



- Whangateau catchment and harbour study report

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