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Blueskin Bay

The Blueskin Bay is a large, shallow, tidal estuary located approximately 25km north of Dunedin on New Zealand’s east coast. Overall, this is a healthy estuary, with high-value seagrass and cockle beds. This is due to a combination of small freshwater inflows, high tidal flushing, and the catchment sediment and nutrient loads that the estuary is currently able to absorb.

Extensive seagrass beds are present on the central intertidal flats, which make up 33.5 hectares or 5.2% of the intertidal area, reflecting the low sediment mud content, high water clarity, and a relatively low amount of nutrients entering the estuary.

Eighty-two percent (512 hectares) of the estuary’s intertidal substrate is sand-dominated, with mud-dominated sediments a minor feature in localised areas near freshwater inflows and among the salt marsh across 3.7% (25.2 hectares) of the estuary. Shell banks and cockle beds are common 4.9% (30.8 hectares) in the intertidal area in the lower estuary.

Estuary summary

What makes my estuary unique?

Explore the characteristics of this estuary


Estuary characteristics

  • Significant features
    • High-value seagrass beds grow extensively across 512 hectares of the intertidal area
    • Cockle beds are commonly found throughout the lower estuary
    • Important habitat for coastal birds including waders, shorebirds and waterfowl
    • Healthy salt marsh habitat
    • Includes a large sand dune spit
  • Total area
    690 hectares
  • Key rivers
    • Waitati River
    • Careys Creek

What's happening upstream?

See results from monitored river quality sites influencing this estuary

River quality

What's happening upstream?

The physical characteristics and health of estuaries are influenced by the rivers and streams flowing into them. For instance, when it rains the mud and contaminants generated on land can be washed into rivers and eventually flow into the estuary. The health of our rivers and streams can therefore be very important for Estuary Health, and understanding the upstream pressures can help with interpreting estuary monitoring data.

Monitoring is undertaken for a range of river health indicators (e.g., water quality and ecology) in many catchments across the region. Where there are monitored river catchments that influence this estuary, these are shown below. You can click through to view monitoring results from these River Quality sites to see current state and how health has changed over time.

What surrounds my estuary?

See land cover information from monitored catchments that surround this estuary

Land cover

What surrounds my estuary?

The physical characteristics and health of estuaries are influenced by local geography and the way we use our land. This is because estuaries are the receiving environments for many of our land use activities. Land cover information can be used as an indicator of land use, therefore knowing the surrounding land cover can help us understand which pressures might be affecting Estuary Health.

Where there is land cover information available for nearby catchments, these are listed below. These figures show the types of vegetation and built or natural features that surround the estuary margins and the rivers that flow into this estuary. You can click through to the Land Cover topic to see these land cover classes broken down into further detail, and view changes over time.

Monitored sites 2

Select a monitored site from the list below

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