Christchurch's fresh waterways include different types of streams, rivers, ponds, and creeks, but we also have man made fresh waterways. These include artificial drains, piped systems, surface runoff, and water races. The rain that comes down from the sky and lands on natural things like soil, grass and rocks then soaks through the mud and goes underground into the aquifers. It then gets pumped up through a pipe that leads to our taps and that's where we get our water from. When rain falls on the roof or on concrete it flows into the pipes and slides down into the drains then travels through the stormwater system to the rivers.
A habitat is a place where animals and plants live. For domestic animals like pets, their habitats include pens, tanks, and terrariums. An example of a natural habitat where some animals live is the savannah, forests, and bushes. In American swamps, an ideal habitat for baby alligators and turtles is mostly under the water weeds to keep away from predators like pythons and anacondas' because they can be killed.
In New Zealand streams and rivers, mayfly larvae (which are invertebrates that live in the stream) and freshwater crayfish can both be eaten by eels. This is because they are a main food source to the eel.
If there were no mayflies or crayfish the eel would die too. Mayfly larvae and pukeko both eat vegetation because it helps them to stay alive. So if there were no plants pukeko and mayfly could die. So basically it means every animal needs food and they get it from where they live, so we need to look after all of it.
There are lots of different healthy waterway habitats in New Zealand. What you would only find in a unhealthy waterway habitat is earthworms and snails. But you also can find them in a healthy waterway as well. In healthy water you would find lots of different invertebrates.
If you analyse the temperature of a waterway and if you want to know if it's healthy, it would be above 20 degrees celsius. If it's unhealthy it would be below 15 degrees celsius. Macroinvertebrates like cooler water as well, because it provides more oxygen to breath. Also, if you see or pick up algae and it's thick, it's unhealthy, but if it's thin it is healthy.
Testing our waterways
Our class visited many different waterways around Christchurch. We assessed the waterways by using a health sheet called "In-stream and riparian habitat survey". We also caught a lot of invertebrates by using a stick and a sieve. We counted and grouped them into a tray to see if they were the same animals and looked at a chart to see what kind of invertebrates they were. And we looked through a special water clarity tube to see if it was clean or dirty water for the wildlife.
The storm water drain behind our school is pretty unhealthy. The few reasons we know is because it has no water in it, and if invertebrates live there or near it they could die. Another reason why is because there is no thin algae and that is a food source to some fish. It is also bad that there is not much shade over the storm water drain either. It means that the Macroinvertebrates and fish can't enjoy the nice cool water because at the storm water drain there were no Macroinvertebrates. And even though it had some water in it like little puddles, the water could still get muddy and murky and soggy brown, which is not good for our animals.
Changes we could make:
Some changes we could make as a community around the stormwater drain behind our school are:
Pick up rubbish from in the waterway
Put a rubbish bin nearby
Plant trees for shade this means that macroinvertebrates like mayfly larvae and damselfly and fish like eels and mudfish can help keep the waterway healthy. But to keep them healthy you have to put food sources that they can eat like thin algae too.
And another way to help them stay alive is to look online on what they love to eat and their main food sources.
Why are they changes important .
These changes are important because if wildlife and fish come to live there it's best that we have water in the stormwater drain so they can have a habitat. It is also important to have clean water and not have it polluted because if they eat something like rubbish with toxic chemicals and die, we don't want that.
The main reasons to keep a waterway healthy is that it can protect our wildlife. And it's to do with Maori culture too. Kaitiakitanga is a Maori culture value and it means to protect the land in a sustainable way. And we want kids in the future to enjoy the waterways just like we do.