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Blueprints to protect Auckland's waters

Blueprints to protect Auckland's iconic waters underway

13 February 2006

The health of Auckland's streams, estuaries and harbours depends on blueprints being developed to protect them as the region grows, ARC Environmental Management Chair Cr Dianne Glenn has advised.

"The region is growing by around 50 people a day, and this growth puts a huge strain on our environment because more people create more pollution - especially in the harbours that Aucklanders treasure," Cr Glenn says.

"If we are going to protect our valuable waterways and continue to enjoy pastimes such as gathering shellfish, and fishing for snapper and flounder, then we must map out where the water pollution is occurring, and apply the best possible solutions to stop this pollution before it's too late," she says.

"The ARC is working in partnership with local councils to create blueprints of catchments and the state of receiving waters - such as the iconic Waitemata harbour, Tamaki Estuary, and Lucas Creek - that they drain into, so we can work out what the appropriate solutions are to protect them."

ARC Stormwater Action team leader Earl Shaver says that this new approach to water pollution management ensures that the limited resources the region has for stopping the increase of pollutants such as zinc, copper and sediment are put where they can have the most benefit.

"Previously there was an adhoc approach to managing water pollution because we didn't have the understanding of pollution sources and which water bodies they were affecting that we have now," Mr Shaver says.

"By looking at what effects catchment development is having on waterways and then mapping out what solutions are required and where, we have a real chance to stop the degradation of our aquatic resources, ensuring they will be enjoyed for years to come."

Regular monitoring by the ARC shows that zinc, copper and sediment are increasing in Auckland's marine environment. If levels continue to rise, marine animals such as shellfish, snapper and flounder will be adversely affected.

ENDS

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