Research Facility

The Trust is dedicated to protecting the freshwater ecosystem of the Clutha Mata-Au River by facilitating limnological research in association with universities and NIWA, including long-term water testing and bio-monitoring to measure the impacts of land use intensification. 

Over the last twenty years, analysis of the national water quality monitoring network has revealed significant declines in almost all measured water quality parameters. New Zealand lakes, rivers and groundwater, outside of the conservation estate, are experiencing diffuse pollution through sediment, nutrient and faecal contamination, threatening many freshwater species and causing an alarming loss of biodiversity.

Although the Upper Clutha Mata-Au River benefits from one of the most pristine alpine catchments in the world, land use intensification in the Upper Clutha Valley is a serious threat to freshwater quality and biodiversity, especially through groundwater contamination beneath Hawea Flat, because this groundwater issues directly into the Upper Clutha through springs in the riverside escarpments.
In addition to supporting freshwater research, the Trust will promote a Longfin eel habitat, liaising with Manaaki Tuna, a group of academics, teachers and researchers at Massey University, initiated by Dr Mike Joy. The native Longfin eel is highly endangered having suffered the loss of its migration route to and from the Pacific Ocean because of hydro dams. Longfins are the biggest, longest-lived eel species in the world. The females can reach more than 2m in size and live up to 100 years of age before breeding. The Trust will work to preserve this endangered species, and may host Longfin eel open days.

Wanaka Sun 19 June 2014 
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Wanaka Sun 31 August 2014
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Manaaki Tuna

Clutha River Guardian