Waiwhetu Stream Transformation, Rātā Street Naenae -Story from Wild Things issue 152
Written by : Izzy Thomson-Chalmers and Grace Khenglot
The Waiwhetu Stream would never have got to what it is now unless it had Naenae Nature Trust, Mountains To Sea and the Rata Street School Enviro group to help it. This stream went from almost nothing to a large metropolis for bugs, fishes, eels and insects. Let’s dive in and explore the stream…
Five years ago the stream only had concrete running along each side. It had no trees, bushes or rocks that could provide shade to any potential inhabitants. There were also no creatures living in the stream. So the Naenae Nature Trust and Rata Street School Enviro group decided that they would plant a bunch of trees and bushes alongside the concrete strips so that the branches would lean over the creek and the animals would have some shade and shelter in hot weather.
At the end of May this year, the Rātā Street School Enviro group teamed up with MTS (Mountain To Sea) and went down to the stream to do some tests to check the water purity and make sure that it was healthy and if there were any new immigrants. The tests came back great for the clarity, current, temperature and how clean it was.
Our team found 120 rounded snails that aren’t fussy about what type of water they’re in; they don’t care if it’s good or bad water, they just want a place to call home. This shows how bad a state the stream must have been in five years ago!!! We also found 55 worms. (they are just like the round snail but with no shell). They also don’t really care too much about what water type they’re in, but clearly the stream must have been too much even for them! We also found 16 flat mayflies, three swimming mayflies and three free-living caddisflies. They are really picky about where they live because they can only survive in good water; which is also a good sign. In total we found 22 fussy creatures and 178 not so fussy ones.
In conclusion, our testing shows that the Waiwhetu Stream is in good health and over the five years since Naenae Nature Trust and RSS did all the plantings; life has returned to the stream. The ecosystem has returned to full health and is now home to many wonderful creatures to be enjoyed by future generations.