The Jobs for Nature (JFN) programme is investing in riparian fencing, planting, wetland restoration, fish passage remediation and other activities designed to enhance freshwater habitats.
This report describes a monitoring programme to assess the effectiveness of the JFN investment in Ngā Awa catchments, based on biodiversity outcomes. It describes the ‘why, what, where, when and how’ of monitoring so progress towards biodiversity gains can be evaluated in the 2–3 year duration of the programme as well as afterwards. Biodiversity outcomes like an increase in the number and variety of fish, generally occur more than 5 years after restoration actions begin.
The report reviews and rates existing aquatic and terrestrial monitoring methods used by DOC, councils and others against multiple criteria. This review guides a later chapter on method selection.
The Ngā Awa JFN monitoring programme is explained using intervention logic. This logic links actions like riparian planting to reductions in pressures like sediment interception and outcomes like increased invertebrate diversity to identify what to measure and why. Progress on actions and pressures is likely to be measurable within the duration of the JFN programme, with expectations of progress on biodiversity outcomes in the future.
A chapter on biodiversity indicators provides guidance about where, when and how to monitor different actions, pressures and outcomes using standard protocols. Examples of action, pressure and outcome indicators are riparian planting, nutrient concentrations and number of fish respectively.
Decision support tools that enable various monitoring protocols to be selected are provided for six typical JFN actions:
- riparian fencing
- riparian planting
- sediment trapping
- wetland restoration
- fish passage remediation
- pest control – terrestrial or aquatic.
The report also lists up-to-date information about New Zealand’s freshwater monitoring protocols, which may be applicable to similar projects. Collaborations with other agencies, like the Ministry for the Environment, and additional resources like apps to support monitoring and increase its efficiency are also being developed by Ngā Awa.