State of our environment
Council has the responsibility to monitor the state of the local environment. An update of the information collected is made available every second year as a snapshot of the key items of public interest.
2013-15 state of the environment reports
Generally the reports identify that these resources are in good health. No significant trends of degradation are identified.
Air, climate and waste
Air quality in Gisborne is generally good with no exceedances of the national environmental standard for PM10 in 2014 or 2015.
PM10 levels are higher in winter, however there is a trend of a reducing peak indicating air quality could be improving.
Rainfall over the last 100 years shows a gradual trend of decline in both summer and winter.
Severe weather events are occurring at a similar frequency as they have done in the past -forestry harvest is making us more aware of these events and their effects.
83.6% of all costal water quality samples taken over the last 3 years have been in the “suitable for swimming” category - and only 1.3% of samples were in the “action” category.
Volumes of sand extracted for development works and construction has decreased over the 3 year period, with most sand being taken from the Beacon area at Poverty Bay.
Coastal accretion is occurring north of the Waipaoa River mouth to Pacific Street. Other monitored coastlines are showing no significant trends of accretion or erosion.
Recent work on updating natural coastal hazards has been completed with new maps prepared for coastal erosion, coastal flooding and tsunami hazards, all of which are significant hazards for our region.
Land and soil
Cropping trends in the district show that maize, sweetcorn, grapes, citrus, squash and kiwifruit are the most significant summer crops. The area planted in grapes is still declining slightly, and squash production is increasing on land outside of the Poverty Bay Flats.
60% of Overlay 3A, the most severely eroding land, is now covered by a completed workplan.
1625 hectares in new Erosion Control Funding Project (ECFP) grant approvals have been applied. Indigenous reversion and Manuka planting are becoming more favoured treatment methods.
Forestry harvest in the district is continuing to increase with the 2013-2015 area more than triple of that harvested in 2002-2005.
Severe weather events in areas of recent forestry harvest continue to have major environmental impacts. Work is underway with the sector to try and find better ways to mitigate or prevent these.
Large areas of the Poverty Bay Flats and parts of Gisborne city are vulnerable to liquefaction in a large earthquake. More detailed mapping has been completed which will enable better planning and development processes.
Biodiversity and biosecurity
Only 25ha of intact original forest remain on the Gisborne plains.
7% of the region is identified as Protection Management Areas – our highest value native vegetation – of this only 0.1% is protected by covenant.
Since 2008 Council has approved the clearance of 2650.3ha of native bush, including 165.8ha of Protection Management Areas.
Our state of knowledge of wetlands is poor. Only 1.75% of our wetlands remain, and only 9 are protected by covenant.
Possum control operations are not sufficiently resourced to meet targets. Monitoring indicates higher levels of trapping and poisoning are needed to successfully bring possum numbers in bush areas down to the densities required.
The region remains Rook–free with only the occasional bird being identified flying into the district from Wairoa.
Rabbit numbers remain low – well below Level 3 on the McLean-Gibb scale.
Argentine and Darwin’s ants are continuing to spread slowly, with new infestations at Wainui and Whangara. A total of 439 new infestations were identified from 2013-2015.
There are 131 properties infected with Nodding Thistle, one of our most serious agricultural weeds.
Water quality in the Waipaoa Catchment is compared to the limits set in the catchment plan. While there is variability from the limits, there are no statistically significant trends since the notification of the Waipaoa Catchment Plan. There are two attributes in different parts of the catchment that fall below Minimum Acceptable States – phosphate in the Taruheru River and E.coli in the Wharekopae River, Taruheru River and Waikanae Stream.
Water quality in the rest of the region shows that generally nitrate and phosphate levels are low across the region, but that ammonia (which is toxic to native fish) has elevated levels in some streams.
Outside of the Waipaoa Catchment, the Kopuawhakapata Stream has the worst water
quality, and falls below the National Bottom Line for a number of attributes.
Suspended sediment is a major problem in a large number of stream and river systems, but there are also some with very low levels of sediment present.
Urban stormwater in Gisborne city has high levels of contaminants, with zinc, lead and copper elevated in most areas across the city.
2011 - 12 state of our environment reports
Biosecurity report (609kb)
Fresh Water Resources report (834kb)
Coastal Environment report (891kb)