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

Option 1 for reducing nitrogen loss

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

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2130
12
Added
20 Sep 2019

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 20 Sep 2019.

This dataset shows land that would be covered by the option 1 of section 8.4 Immediate action to reduce nitrogen loss.

This web map has been developed by the Ministry for the Environment to support policy proposals in the Action for Healthy Waterways discussion document. The proposals are currently being consulted on.

It provides extra detail on Option 1 in section 8.4 of the discussion document (Immediate action to reduce nitrogen loss). The map indicates the pastoral catchments and sub-catchments specified as high-nitrate in Option 1, where regional rules are not already in place or proposed, and shows the land considered to be low-slope.

Low-slope is defined in this option as land parcels with an average slope of less than 5, 7 or 10 degrees. We are seeking feedback on the appropriate slope threshold to use.

The catchments are those with the highest 10% of nitrate levels in the MfE Environmental Reporting River Water Quality dataset found here. Catchments where the predominant sources of nitrate are non-pastoral in origin are excluded.

Under Option 1, a per-hectare cap, or threshold, for nitrogen losses will be set for each sub-catchment with similar soil type and rainfall. This threshold will be based on a ranking of nitrogen losses from farms within each sub-catchment, and could be set at the 90th percentile, or the 70th, or a point between. Feedback is sought on where this threshold should be set.

This is only one of the options being consulted on, The areas indicated are provisional and may not equate to areas included in regulation.

Layer ID 103881
Data type Vector polygon
Feature count 13564
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W)

Option 3 for reducing nitrogen loss

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

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1253
12
Added
20 Sep 2019

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 20 Sep 2019.

This dataset shows land that would be covered by the option 3 of section 8.4 Immediate action to reduce nitrogen loss.

This dataset has been developed by the Ministry for the Environment to support policy proposals in the Action for Healthy Waterways discussion document.  These proposals are currently being consulted on.

The map provides extra detail on Option 3 in section 8.4: Immediate action to reduce nitrogen loss, of the discussion document.  The map indicates the high-nitrate catchments and sub-catchments that could be included under Option 3. These catchments have the highest 10% of nitrate levels in the MfE Environmental Reporting River Water Quality dataset which can be found here.  The catchments are further restricted to regions that do not have rules already in place or proposed. Catchments where the predominant sources of nitrate are not pastoral or horticultural in origin have been excluded.

Under this option, farmers in these catchments would have to show, in the freshwater module in their farm plan, how they will rapidly reduce nutrient leaching. Progress against the plan would be monitored by independent auditors and the regional council could take enforcement action if required.

This is only one of the options being consulted on. The areas indicated are provisional and may not equate to areas included in a regulation.

Layer ID 103879
Data type Vector polygon
Feature count 17
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W)

NZ Peat Mines 1990-2015

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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12044
11
Added
07 Apr 2017

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 07 Apr 2017.

Maps horticultural peat mining areas from 1990 to 2015, peat type and quantity, and post-mining activities.

Layer ID 53594
Data type Vector polygon
Feature count 9
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Type 2 Marine Protected Areas (2016 report)

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10935
65
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 (MPAs) 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.
Type 2 MPAs have lower levels of protection than marine reserves. For example, they may allow fishing but restrict seabed trawling.

Layer ID 53499
Data type Vector multipolygon
Feature count 43
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

DoC marine mammal sanctuaries (2016 report)

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10802
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
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Benthic protection areas (2016 report)

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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You must attribute the creator in your own works.

14775
94
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.
Benthic protection areas (protected seabed areas) are one of the marine protection tools used. They are designated areas in the exclusive economic zone, which extends from the 12 nautical mile seaward limit of the territorial sea to the 200 nautical mile limit. Bethnic protection areas protect seabed habitats through the prohibition of bottom trawling and dredging. There are some areas where seamount closures overlap with benthic protection areas. In these cases the seamount closure restrictions apply.
Note that the thumbnail preview of this spatial data does not reflect the data underlying it. Please see the methodology for a more reflective preview.

Layer ID 53494
Data type Vector multipolygon
Feature count 17
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Lightning recorders

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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18255
56
Added
18 Feb 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 18 Feb 2016.

Lightning is the discharge of electricity from thunderstorms. Ground strikes can cause significant damage to property and infrastructure, and injure or kill people and livestock. Lightning is often associated with other severe weather events, such as strong wind gusts. Thunderstorms may increase in frequency and intensity with climate change.

This dataset shows the location of sensors in the New Zealand Lightning Detection Network (NZLDN), run by MetService.

Sensors around the country detect lightning over the New Zealand land mass and a short distance out to sea. These sensors detect very accurately the electrical discharge, location, and time, as well as noting other parameters such as current strength. The NZLDN records both cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground strikes.

Layer ID 53312
Data type Vector point
Feature count 10
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Recruitment of indigenous tree sp black beech 2002–2014

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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9955
6
Added
11 Jan 2016

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

"The rates of establishment (recruitment) of indigenous tree species vary across New Zealand. Changes in the state of the environment (such as from browsing pests, large-scale weather events, or climate change) may change the rates of recruitment of particular tree species. This in turn may alter forest processes. Repeated surveys of the distribution of recruitment rates can alert us to impacts on our indigenous forests.

This data set relates to the "Distribution of indigenous trees" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website."

Layer ID 52782
Data type Vector point
Feature count 195
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Mortality of indigenous tree sp black beech 2002–2014

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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You must attribute the creator in your own works.

11986
19
Added
11 Jan 2016

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

"The rates of death (mortality) of indigenous tree species vary across New Zealand. Changes in the state of the environment (such as from browsing pests, large-scale weather events, or climate change) may change the rates of mortality of particular tree species. This in turn may alter forest processes. Repeated surveys of the distribution of mortality rates can alert us to impacts on our indigenous forests.

This data set relates to the "Distribution of indigenous trees" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website."

Layer ID 52769
Data type Vector point
Feature count 195
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed
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