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Pawsons Stream

The Banks Peninsula (BPZ) has an area of 8010 km2 and forms the most prominent volcanic feature of the South Island. Geologically the peninsula comprises of the remnants of two large volcanoes which means streams in this area have naturally higher phosphorus concentrations than other waterways in Canterbury. Estimates suggest native forest once covered 98% of the peninsula. However less than 2% remains today.

Twelve streams in the BPZ area are currently included in Environment Canterbury’s state of the environment water quality monitoring programme. Macroinvertebrates are currently sampled once in summer at about twice as many sites as part of the ecosystem health monitoring programme.

Main pressures on streams within the BPZ are associated with agricultural activities, such as stock access which can subsequently lead to increased sediment (and therefore phosphorus) runoff. Because these streams are naturally higher in phosphorus, they are susceptible to excessive nutrient concentrations which may lead to degraded water quality and poorer instream aquatic communities.

Streams within the BPZ, typically have high dissolved phosphorus concentrations, and relatively low dissolved nitrogen concentrations. This is largely due to phosphorus-rich soils and generally low input from groundwater. Bacterial concentrations are often very high due to the steep terrain (i.e., rapid overland flow) and lack of stock exclusion. Good riparian management in this catchment could assist in reducing the likelihood of excessive phosphorus and bacteria entering streams.

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Monitored sites in the Pawsons Stream catchment

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