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Jacobs River Estuary

Jacobs River Estuary is a medium-sized "tidal lagoon" type estuary, discharging to the sea at Riverton. Situated at the confluence of the Pourakino and Aparima Rivers, it drains a primarily agricultural catchment. This shallow estuary, with a mean depth of less than 2m is bordered by a mix of vegetation and land uses both urban and grazed pasture and has a mixture of well flushed and poorly flushed areas. The estuary has extensive mudflats, seagrass and saltmarsh areas. Seagrass is an important habitat in estuaries because it provides a nursery for fish species, habitat for macroinvertebrates, stabilises the estuary bottom and filters nutrients from the water column.

Human use of the estuary is high and is used for walking, mahinga kai collection, shellfish collecting, boating, fishing, duck shooting, bird watching, bathing, and white-baiting. Habitat diversity is moderate with tidal flats and saltmarsh providing conditions suitable for native fish, birdlife and tidal flat organisms.

Jacobs River Estuary is one of the key estuaries in Environment Southland's State of Environment Monitoring Programme. Overall, the estuary was assessed to be in poor condition and showing significant symptoms of nutrient enrichment.

Monitoring is carried out in the Estuary at five sites. Site A, B and C have been monitored since 2003, while site D and E have been monitored since 2011. The sites are sampled once each year (during summer) for mud content, trace metals in sediment, and macrofauna along with other sediment characteristics.


Estuary summary

What makes my estuary unique?

Explore the characteristics of this estuary


Estuary characteristics

  • Total area
    720 hectares
  • Key rivers
    • Pourakino River
    • Aparima River

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.

Aparima River

What do the Broad Land Cover Classes mean?

Land cover information on LAWA is grouped into land cover classes at two levels of detail – broad and medium. For this overview we are showing the six broad-level classes for the catchment.

  • Forest

    Inclusive of; indigenous and exotic forest.

  • Scrub / shrubland

    Inclusive of; indigenous and exotic scrub / shrubland.

  • Grassland / other herbaceous vegetation

    Inclusive of; tussock and exotic grassland and other herbaceous vegetation.

  • Cropland

    Inclusive of; cropping / horticulture.

  • Urban / bare / lightly-vegetated surfaces

    Inclusive of; natural bare/lightly-vegetated and artificial bare surfaces, and urban area

  • Water bodies
Monitored sites 5

Select a monitored site from the list below

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