The Maraetōtara River has received a heap of ‘tender loving care’ over the years, thanks to the persistent dedication of the Maraetōtara Tree Trust (MTT), founded in 2002.
Maraetōtara River had suffered degradation from livestock pollution, willow tree infestation, and a general lack of care and protection of river margins. The Trust is committed to planting indigenous trees to improve biodiversity, protect riparian areas, improve water quality, and generally enhance the landscape.
However, most recent HBRC measurements, taken at Waimarama Road and Te Awanga, indicate that water quality is ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ degrading as measured by a number of key indicators – e.coli, phosphorous and MCI (this last measures the ‘bugs’ that should be in the water, indicating its relative health).
The ‘National Bottom Line’ for MCI is 90 (higher is better in this measure), but as you can see in the chart, the index for the Maraetōtara River has averaged 83.6, with a sharp downward trend in recent years.
So, it’s great to see that a new local partner – Water Testing Hawke’s Bay (WTHB) – has joined with MTT, donating its services to develop more complete data over the coming years regarding the river’s water quality. WTHB’s private monitoring of Maraetōtara River water quality began in August. Samples will be taken quarterly, at ten different sites, with the next sampling scheduled for November.
Former Hastings deputy mayor Cynthia Bowers is the GM of WTHB and was a founding trustee of the MTT. She’s come full circle with this partnership … kudos to her and WTHB owners for making this commitment.
MTT has worked very hard to improve the overall landscape and ambiance of the Maraetōtara River. Hopefully with this partnership, more extensive monitoring will identify further opportunities to improve the river’s water quality.