Assessment Framework for Freshwater Ecosystem Health

The Ministry for the Environment is seeking the development of a national framework (and sub-indices) for measuring the biophysical aspects of ecosystem health of freshwater in New Zealand. It is intended that the output will be a recommended approach to measuring the condition of freshwater ecosystems and changes over time that is complete, representative, scalable, consistent, and flexible. The focus is rivers initially, with attention to be given to how the approach could be adapted for other water bodies (e.g. lakes and wetlands). This national framework will be the first step toward ensuring ecosystem health (as defined in the NPS-FM 2014) is monitored and reported in a more comprehensive and consistent way across the country. Ultimately uses for this information will include helping agencies to evaluate ecological outcomes, and assisting communities to understand and articulate the level of ecosystem health they want. This project is an opportunity to be involved in a national initiative to improve the way freshwater ecosystems are measured and reported in New Zealand. If successful, the framework you develop will help drive freshwater monitoring that is more representative, consistent, yet allows for some local flexibility. Ultimately the framework will ensure a better understanding of the state freshwater ecosystems. It may also help shift the conversation away from just managing water quality, to managing whole freshwater ecosystems.

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