This data set reports on trends for 15 coastal and estuarine water quality measures, grouped below by type, monitored at sites across Aotearoa New Zealand between 2006 and 2020:

  • nutrient – ammoniacal nitrogen, nitrate-nitrite nitrogen, total nitrogen (unfiltered), dissolved reactive phosphorus, and total phosphorus (unfiltered)
  • microbiological – faecal coliforms, Enterococci, and chlorophyll-a
  • optical – visual clarity, turbidity, and suspended solids (inorganic and organic)
  • physico-chemical – dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, and temperature.

We present trends for the period 2011 to 2020.

Coastal and estuarine ecosystems are affected by changes in water quality.

Nutrients
The two main nutrients of concern in coastal and estuarine ecosystems are nitrogen and, to a lesser degree, phosphorus. An overload of nutrients (eutrophication) can lead to algal blooms that can kill marine life by depleting oxygen levels. Some bloom-forming algal species also contain toxins that can harm marine life, and can pass through food chains to humans (for example, via shellfish poisoning).

Microbiological
Abundant Enterococci _and faecal coliform bacteria indicate the possible presence of human faecal pathogens in coastal waters and represent the risk of infectious disease. Chlorophyll-_a is a measure of phytoplankton biomass and is a primary indicator of eutrophication.

Optical
High suspended sediment concentrations are associated with estuarine and coastal sedimentation, reduced light levels in benthic (seabed) environments, and reduced feeding rates and health of estuarine and coastal animals (Lowe et al., 2015). Visual clarity and turbidity are monitored because light affects primary production, plant and animal distributions and ecological health, aesthetic quality, and recreational values (Davies-Colley et al., 2003).

Physico-chemical
Dissolved oxygen is fundamental to supporting marine life. Low levels of dissolved oxygen can have adverse effects on aquatic fauna, from reduced growth rates to death from lack of oxygen (Tomasetti & Gobler, 2020). Decreased pH results from the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere by seawater but can also reflect local processes caused by eutrophication (Cai et al., 2011; Fraser et al., 2021). Changes in the pH of seawater can have harmful effects on marine life, impacting chemical communication, reproduction, and growth. The building of skeletons in marine organisms is particularly sensitive to acidity, so acidification (lower pH) of sea waters can be harmful for organisms such as shellfish and corals (Fabry et al., 2008). Salinity provides information on the freshwater content of coastal waters. Water temperature is important as it controls biochemical processes and affects the balance of parameters such as dissolved oxygen levels. As a result, seawater temperature determines distributions of many marine plants and animals (Kleisner et al., 2017).

Adapted by Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand to provide for environmental reporting transparency. Dataset used to develop the "Coastal and estuarine water quality, trends" indicator (available at ++Coastal and estuarine water quality | Stats NZ++).

Layer ID 111131
Data type Vector point
Feature count 3024
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

DoC marine mammal sanctuaries

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10639
90
Added
11 Jan 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 11 Jan 2016.

The location and extent of Marine mammal sanctuaries in the territorial sea and the exclusive economic zone.

Layer ID 52759
Data type Vector multipolygon
Feature count 9
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DoC marine mammal sanctuaries (2016 report)

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10813
48
Added
19 Oct 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 19 Oct 2016.

New Zealand’s four million km2 marine environment is diverse, with a range of coastal habitats and offshore seabed environments. There are also many marine species unique to New Zealand. Marine protected areas conserve or manage some of these unique habitats and species, while a range of other tools also provide marine protection. We report on the area covered by these tools as an indirect measure to understand the state of the marine environment.
Marine mammal sanctuaries are one of the marine protection tools used. They are designed to protect New Zealand’s unique range of marine mammals by reducing harmful human impacts, particularly in vulnerable areas such as migratory routes and breeding grounds. Each marine mammal sanctuary has a specific set of restrictions based on the species that occupy, or pass through that particular area.

Layer ID 53495
Data type Vector multipolygon
Feature count 9
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Freshwater pests: American ribbed fluke snail

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10025
12
Added
11 Jan 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 11 Jan 2016.

"Freshwater plant and animal pests can have significant negative impacts on ecosystem health by reducing indigenous biodiversity through predation and competition, and destabilising aquatic habitats. Freshwater plant pests can cause economic losses through blocking water intakes for hydroelectricity generation, impeded drainage or irrigation. In addition, pests can affect the suitability for recreational activities.
This dataset relates to the ""Freshwater pests"" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website. "

Layer ID 52681
Data type Vector point
Feature count 9
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Freshwater pests: Cape pondweed

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10284
19
Added
11 Jan 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 11 Jan 2016.

"Freshwater plant and animal pests can have significant negative impacts on ecosystem health by reducing indigenous biodiversity through predation and competition, and destabilising aquatic habitats. Freshwater plant pests can cause economic losses through blocking water intakes for hydroelectricity generation, impeded drainage or irrigation. In addition, pests can affect the suitability for recreational activities.
This dataset relates to the ""Freshwater pests"" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website. "

Layer ID 52690
Data type Vector point
Feature count 63
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Freshwater pests: Eel grass

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10389
15
Added
11 Jan 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 11 Jan 2016.

"Freshwater plant and animal pests can have significant negative impacts on ecosystem health by reducing indigenous biodiversity through predation and competition, and destabilising aquatic habitats. Freshwater plant pests can cause economic losses through blocking water intakes for hydroelectricity generation, impeded drainage or irrigation. In addition, pests can affect the suitability for recreational activities.
This dataset relates to the ""Freshwater pests"" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website. "

Layer ID 52700
Data type Vector point
Feature count 19
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Freshwater pests: Egeria

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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9971
26
Added
11 Jan 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 11 Jan 2016.

"Freshwater plant and animal pests can have significant negative impacts on ecosystem health by reducing indigenous biodiversity through predation and competition, and destabilising aquatic habitats. Freshwater plant pests can cause economic losses through blocking water intakes for hydroelectricity generation, impeded drainage or irrigation. In addition, pests can affect the suitability for recreational activities.
This dataset relates to the ""Freshwater pests"" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website. "

Layer ID 52699
Data type Vector point
Feature count 258
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Freshwater pests: Parrots feather

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10483
17
Added
11 Jan 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 11 Jan 2016.

"Freshwater plant and animal pests can have significant negative impacts on ecosystem health by reducing indigenous biodiversity through predation and competition, and destabilising aquatic habitats. Freshwater plant pests can cause economic losses through blocking water intakes for hydroelectricity generation, impeded drainage or irrigation. In addition, pests can affect the suitability for recreational activities.
This dataset relates to the ""Freshwater pests"" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website. "

Layer ID 52725
Data type Vector point
Feature count 104
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Freshwater pests: Reed sweetgrass

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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You must attribute the creator in your own works.

10473
27
Added
11 Jan 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 11 Jan 2016.

"Freshwater plant and animal pests can have significant negative impacts on ecosystem health by reducing indigenous biodiversity through predation and competition, and destabilising aquatic habitats. Freshwater plant pests can cause economic losses through blocking water intakes for hydroelectricity generation, impeded drainage or irrigation. In addition, pests can affect the suitability for recreational activities.
This dataset relates to the "Freshwater pests" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website. "

Layer ID 52731
Data type Vector point
Feature count 108
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Freshwater pests: Yellow Flag

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10080
18
Added
11 Jan 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 11 Jan 2016.

"Freshwater plant and animal pests can have significant negative impacts on ecosystem health by reducing indigenous biodiversity through predation and competition, and destabilising aquatic habitats. Freshwater plant pests can cause economic losses through blocking water intakes for hydroelectricity generation, impeded drainage or irrigation. In addition, pests can affect the suitability for recreational activities.
This dataset relates to the "Freshwater pests" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website. "

Layer ID 52745
Data type Vector point
Feature count 61
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed
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