What is a Stream Assessment?

Stream assessments are a evaluation of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of a stream or river ecosystem. It aims to gauge the overall health and ecological condition.  This assessment often involves measuring factors such as water quality, habitat conditions, and the presence of aquatic species to inform conservation and restoration efforts.

If you are planning a development that requires changes to the stream environment, a Stream Assessment or Stream Ecological Valuation (SEV) is required.  Examples include adding a culvert or filling in part of a stream.

Stream Assessments include the following:

  • Visiting the site to identify any streams present.
  • Classifying the type of stream (permanent, intermittent or ephemeral) according to relevant acts, policies and guidelines.
  • Determining the ecological value of the stream.
  • Work with the design team towards compliance with the relevant standards (eg: NES-F, AUP:OP, and NZ Fish Passage Guidelines).
  • Assessing the impacts of the proposed activity on the stream and how these can be avoided, remediated and/or mitigated.

What is an SEV (Stream Ecological Valuation)? 

An SEV assesses stream functions and develops a plan to offset negative impacts on the stream.  This valuation is essential for understanding the importance of streams and rivers in natural ecosystems and human societies, and making informed decisions about their management and conservation.

An SEV assessment includes the following:

  • Hydrology – process associated with water storage and transplant 
  • Biogeochemical – relates to processing of minerals, particulates, and water chemistry 
  • Habitat provision – types, amounts and quality of habitats that the stream reach provides for flora and fauna 
  • Biotic functions – occurrence of diverse populations of native plants and animals that would expect to find in the stream 

Our expert Ecologists can answer your Stream Assessment questions

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