Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Quantifying ecological effects of sedimentation in streams in differing land use management zones

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posted on 2021-12-08, 09:48 authored by Mair, Debbie

This ecological and geomorphological assessment of Horokiri Stream and Ration Creek was conducted across four longitudinal zones to explore the effects of sediment delivery, run-off, channel form, riparian and in-stream habitat. The Horokiri Stream channel has moved approximately 7 metres westward over the last 20 years, with both banks now covered in long grass, flaxes, natives with a mix of tall canopy trees. Looking at stream, Spearman’s for Ration at Figure 27 (n = 16, rho -0.243, p = 0.36) as deposited sediment increased, MCI decreased, non-significant. Spearman’s for Horokiri at Figure 28 (n = 16, rho 0.247, p = 0.35) as MCI increased with sediment, non-significant. Results from upstream of the riparian zones showed more deposited fine sediment. However, within both the riparian zones the sediment deposition was much lower. The native riparian planting along the stream banks had a positive effect on reducing sedimentation. The findings support the concept that the restoration of riparian zones with buffer widths exceeding 10 metres can improve stream habitat and invertebrate health. There was no relationship between flow and deposition rate P(X2>241.84) = 0.24. Figure 24 shows deposited sediment on MCI depending on land use groups (X2 = 11.81, df = 4, p = 0.019). No statistically significant differences were found (comparing the effect of sediment between different land use management groups).  An experiment investigated a disturbance hypothesis in both Ration Creek and Horokiri Stream was conducted during February 2019. The experiment was designed to be long enough to study the effects of four weekly pulse flushing events created by scrapping the stream bed with a drain drag tool and the effects of a press sustained disturbance on the macroinvertebrate community. I measured the sediment and the macroinvertebrate captured in each trap within the experiment site every seven days. My prediction was that macroinvertebrate communities subject to sustained fine sediment delivery (press disturbance) are affected by simulated pulse flushing events (pulse disturbance). A comparison of sediment depositional rate before and after the manipulative experiment (Figure 36) showed higher sediment deposition after the pulse flushing events (1.55 W/A/D) compared to before during the assessment phase (0.88 W/A/D) in Horokiri (t = 2.35, df = 8.95, p = 0.04), but no significant difference before (1.57 W/A/D) or after (1.38 W/A/D) in Ration (t = -0.818, df = 7.71, p = 0.44). It appeared that the smaller riparian buffer width of 2-5m at Ration Creek did not limit sediment deposition. The effects of sediment disturbance in the experiment reflect the rapid ability of macroinvertebrates to respond to sediment by drifting out of unsuitable areas. The weekly pulse disturbance events resulted in increased sediment deposition compared to the background levels of sediment deposition (indicative of a press disturbance) in both streams. As pulse disturbance events increased, the number of macroinvertebrate taxa decreased. Horokiri Stream invertebrate communities declined by 33% compared to Ration Creek which declined by 50%.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Environmental Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Renwick, James; Joy, Mike; Clapcott, Joanne