Publication: Marine and Freshwater Research
Author(s): T. Snelder, C. Fraser, S.Larned, R. Monaghan, S. De Malmanche, A. Whitehead,
Trends at 1051 river monitoring sites across New Zealand incrementing annually for time windows of 10 and 20 years over the 28-year period ending 2017 were assessed from regular observations of six water quality variables. Between-site variation in trend strength and direction was modelled as a function of an indicator based on the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and the mean of and changes to catchment: (1) stocking intensity associated with pastoral livestock; and (2) area associated with plantation forest. The SOI indicator made consistent contributions to the models for the 10-year windows, but the land use indicators did not, indicating that land use signals were generally swamped by the effects of climate variability at this timescale. Depending on the water quality variable, some land use indicators were associated with both water quality improvement and degradation. The relationships were generally consistent with plausible explanations.