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

River Environment Classification Watershed Otago (2010) (DEPRECATED)

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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12506
68
Added
23 Dec 2013

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 23 Dec 2013.

The New Zealand River Environment Classification (REC) organises information about the physical characteristics of New Zealand's rivers. Individual river sections are mapped according to physical factors such as climate, source of flow for the river water, topography, and geology, and catchment land cover eg, forest, pasture or urban. Sections of river that have similar ecological characteristics can then be grouped together, no matter where they are.

This information is mapped for New Zealand's entire river network - over 425,000 kilometres of river. Different types of rivers respond differently to the pressures placed on them - the REC can be used to highlight the most appropriate management tools and approaches to reduce these pressures for each river type. Information from the classification is used to develop policy, assess the environment, and report on the quality of river water.

Stream order is the numerical position of a tributary or section of a river within the entire network. Headwater streams are assigned a stream order of 1. When two tributaries of the same stream order meet, the order increments by one for the next section downstream. However, if two sections meet where one section has higher order than the other, the next section downstream has the same order as the highest upstream section.

The User Guide is available from data.mfe.govt.nz/document/123-rec-user-guide-2010/ . Additional metadata can be found at www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/metadata/env-clas... .

Layer ID 51834
Data type Vector polygon
Feature count 87259
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

River Environment Classification Catchment Order 8 (2010) (DEPRECATED)

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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12377
292
Added
04 Oct 2010

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 04 Oct 2010.

The REC groups rivers and parts of river networks that share similar ecological characteristics, including physical and biological. Rivers that share the same class can be treated as similar to one another and different to rivers in other classes. The REC classification system groups rivers according to several environmental factors that strongly influence or cause the rivers’ physical and ecological characteristics (climate, topography, geology and land cover). A catchment is a polygon that defines the upstream watershed of a river system or sub-system. Land cover within the catchment was used to populate the river classification factors (see table 1.1 of the User Guide data.mfe.govt.nz/document/123-rec-user-guide-2010/ ).

Additional metadata can be found at www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/metadata/env-clas...

Layer ID 52360
Data type Vector multipolygon
Feature count 6
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

River Environment Classification Otago (2010) (DEPRECATED)

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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You must attribute the creator in your own works.

14939
136
Added
23 Dec 2013

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 23 Dec 2013.

The New Zealand River Environment Classification (REC) organises information about the physical characteristics of New Zealand's rivers. Individual river sections are mapped according to physical factors such as climate, source of flow for the river water, topography, and geology, and catchment land cover eg, forest, pasture or urban. Sections of river that have similar ecological characteristics can then be grouped together, no matter where they are.

This information is mapped for New Zealand's entire river network - over 425,000 kilometres of river. Different types of rivers respond differently to the pressures placed on them - the REC can be used to highlight the most appropriate management tools and approaches to reduce these pressures for each river type. Information from the classification is used to develop policy, assess the environment, and report on the quality of river water.

Stream order is the numerical position of a tributary or section of a river within the entire network. Headwater streams are assigned a stream order of 1. When two tributaries of the same stream order meet, the order increments by one for the next section downstream. However, if two sections meet where one section has higher order than the other, the next section downstream has the same order as the highest upstream section.

Additional metadata can be found at www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/metadata/env-clas... .

Layer ID 51855
Data type Vector linestring
Feature count 74144
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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18237
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

Occurrence of non-native species in monitored ports

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10631
39
Added
11 Jan 2016

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

The number of exotic species observed in New Zealand's monitored ports of first entry for international vessels

Layer ID 52749
Data type Vector point
Feature count 11
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Freshwater pests: Bogbean

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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11877
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 52684
Data type Vector point
Feature count 2
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Freshwater pests: Great pond snail

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10898
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 52708
Data type Vector point
Feature count 46
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Freshwater pests: Freshwater jellyfish

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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You must attribute the creator in your own works.

10300
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 52704
Data type Vector point
Feature count 33
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Freshwater pests: Clasped pondweed

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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You must attribute the creator in your own works.

9938
13
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 52692
Data type Vector point
Feature count 4
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed
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