Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Naima's magnificent waterway report

Naima's Magnificent Waterway Report
By Naima 

(Or ballad of the Ninja Crayfish.)

Part one: Habitat
Part two: Ecosystem
Part three: Macroinvertebrates (and other wildlife too)
Part four: Stormwater System
Part five: 5 ways how to find out if your steam is clean or not. And more.
Part six: aquifers/more stormwater drains
Part seven: going around rivers
Part eight: river testing: the creek behind Waimairi School.
Part nine: suggested changes
Part ten: the last part

Creeks, rivers, streams, lakes, estuaries... None of these are man-made. Here are some waterways that are man made: 
Stormwater drains, artificial drains, any type of drains....
To stop creeks and lakes and other stuff from being polluted you need to: 
(1) stop throwing rubbish onto any old place and 
(2) CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOG!!! (I have no idea why dogs do not know how to clean up after themselves.)
Drains are harder. Of course, rain falls everywhere. If it falls on grass it sinks down into the dirt and feeds the grass (everybody knows that water is good for grass, and by the way. It also travels down into underwater rivers called aquifers. Then it travels around for a long time. When I say a long time, I mean 100 years. Then it somehow or other gets into your taps). If it falls on concrete it runs off and goes into storm-water drains (everybody knows that, too). BUT... If it goes into yucky concrete with dog dung and other yucky stuff, and into yucky drains, and into rivers and so on... Well, in the end WE SWIM IN IT. So LOOK AFTER THE ENVIRONMENT.
Plus, with storm-water drains, people put their rubbish (chippy-packets, half-empty coke-cans, etc) into them. Yuckity yuck yuck yuck. PLUS those yucky things go into the rivers. They pollute them. And in the waterways live little things called mud fish. And in the rivers there are things called Macroinvertebrates. THEY MIGHT DIE!!!!!
(and clean up after your dog.)

A habitat is a place where things live. For instance, kiwis live in forests. So you would call that a 'kiwi habitat'. Usually wild animals live in these habitats.
Usually a habitat is in the wild. A human-made habitat is called a stupid cage, or a dog kennel, or an enclosure. I know. Us humans are REALLY mean. And cruel. Unless you are an animal-lover. 
Other wild things live in other places. Some snakes live in deserts. This is good for them because they wriggle into the sand, and when prey comes along, the snakes jump up and eat them. Really bloodthirsty, I know.
A habitat for Macroinvertebrates would be in a river, or a stream and so on. As you already know, we are polluting the Macroinvertebrates' habitats. 

If you are wondering 'what if we take away one teeny tiny bit of Macroinvertebrates habitat?' It might be OK. Like if you take one single grain of sand or something. But if you take away one tree it might be the Macroinvertebrates favourite shading spot, and they refuse to move from where their tree was, and even when the Mayor Macroinvertebrate tells them off they do not move, and the Macroinvertebrates need shade, and then they die, that would actually be doing A LOT. It's like taking away your house but, unlike Macroinvertebrates, we can buy a new house. Macroinvertebrates do not have money.
(If you are wondering what Ecosystem means, it is ANOTHER scientific word. It means connections, the food chain and depending on other parts.
The pukeko relies on the vegetation by the water's edge because they think they taste yummy. Ugh! I bet it is WAY worse than cauliflower or Brussel sprouts... YUCK. 
The back swimmers rely on the water boatman, because back swimmers eat water boatman. NOOOOOOOOO! I LOVE WATER BOATMEN! THEY ARE SO CUTE!!!!
Eel rely on crayfish because they eat them. Yuck.
So if the Crayfish disappeared the Eel would not have food and die, and if something ate the Eel they would have nothing to eat and die, so on and so on. 
So something as small as Crayfish becomes extinct the other things will have nothing to eat, and so the Crayfish is an important part of the food chain. 

MACROINVERTEBRATES (and other wildlife too)
The Mayfly likes a pool with stones and plants. They like plants and stones because (1) they can hide from predators and (2) they are a good place to play hide-and-seek. The Mayfly likes a clean pool. Another connection: me and the Mayfly are connected because we are both fussy. Unlike worms, snails and slugs, the mayfly likes clean pools with no sediment or Didymo (also called rock-snot) and other yucky stuff. 

I know, I know. The common bully bullies every other Macroinvertebrate. They like swimming at the bottom of the stream/pool/whatever because their are its favourite food: Crustaceans and Invertebrates. The Common Bully is not as fussy as the mayfly. 

The freshwater crayfish lives at the bottom of the pool/river/whatever like the Common Bully. This makes it an easy target for the common bully to bully. But sometimes it shows the bully what it is made of by giving it a nip. 
The freshwater crayfish filters the sediment and makes a lovely dinner for things like Eel, Blue Duck and others.

The Pukeko likes to explore around its habitat. It also likes eating the ‘yummy’ grasses along the bank of the river. Ugh. They mostly eat the roots and shoots from the plants.

The Stormwater system is where the plumbing on the outside of your house goes. No, it does not mean you have a plum-tree growing on your house. The stormwater system is the pipe that goes down the side of your house from the roof and goes into a tunnel/pipe. Did you know that it goes down the drain running along the side of your street by the footpath, and then goes down another drain that goes underground, that connects to all the other drains in the street from other houses, THEN it goes into a river, then the sea. WITH all the yucky stuff. 
Like: leaves, doggy doo, rubbish, and so on.
You must start being more careful of what you flush down the outside drain! Even though you might tip poison down your drain to get rid of rats, the last unicorn might live in your drain, and you might kill it, and I don't think you would like that. 

Look for algae. Long floaty bits are bad, but a thin layer is good.
Make sure you have loads of plants and shrubs on the bank.
Is your bank stable? If it is, that is good.
Check the bottom of the stream. Is there yucky slimy stuff? If there is, it might be didymo! Didymo is also called rock-snot. Yuck. I know.
What is at the bottom of the stream? Is it dirt, or rocks? Rocks are good, because little mayfly and stuff can hide under them. 
If you find worms and snails or nothing in your river it is REALLY unhealthy. Mayfly, stonefly and stuff if it is great. OK is common bully, water boatmen and others.

Aquifers are underground rivers. You can read about them a little in the introduction. So as not to lose your place, I have copied and pasted it.
'The rainwater travels down into underwater rivers called aquifers. Then it travels around for a long time. When I say a long time, I mean about 100 years. Then it somehow or other gets into your taps.'
If you are thinking to yourself: "There is no way I am going to drink water from the tap again because it has been in muddy aquifers for 100 years or so," never fear. It gets cleaned first. No, I really mean it. You CAN drink water from your taps. No, it gets cleaned 100%! No, don't smash your kitchen tap.... Oh, too late.
Anyway, forget your kitchen tap.
Oh, and here are some more things about stormwater drains.
I told you about the drains that go under the roads and they lead to everyone's houses. Well, if the leaves and Doggy Doo and all of that get into the drains, the sometimes block them.
Now, there are big steel blocks in the road. If you open one you can see inside the drain. And boy, it's stinky. 
If there is a blockage then the force of the water can push the block up, and a huge spurt of water and leaves and yucky things comes whooshing into your innocent car that is driving along, and pretty soon you are in the middle of a stinky nightmare. Funny, right? Not so. It's scary. 

He Tangata goes around loads of waterways and rivers. We check the water ecosystem and health. I have visited:
Dudley Creek
Styx River
Lake at Styx Reserve
Stormwater drain behind Waimairi School
We used the In-stream and Riparian Habitat Survey chart. It's name is too scientific to understand, so I just call it a stream-checking-whatever-kind-of-chart. You use it to check the stream.
Something we did at Styx Reserve Lake place was catch invertebrates. We had a net on a long pole and we died it in the water, mixing it around, and pulled it out. Sometimes we had some catches. When we did we would take the net-pole-thing to our group and dip it into a container full of water. Then we got a spoon and picked up an invertebrate and put in separate containers.
In the beginning we only got back swimmers and water boatmen. Then Sophie McKewen-Quinn got some Mayfly Larvae. 
Something else we did at Styx River (in Willowbank) was the Turbidity tube. We got some water in a tube, and someone looked into the tube, and there was a little thing in the tube, and someone pulled it back away from the person's eye who was looking into the turbidity tube. Then the person who was looking in the tube would tell the other person when they could not see the little thing. If they lost sight of it quickly, it meant the water was bad. If they did not lose sight of it for a while, it meant it was good.

The creek behind Waimairi School is in bad condition. It may look like a fun, slippery playground to you, but Invertebrates don't like it. 
There is hardly any shade over the stream. I said before, 'If you take away one tree it might be the Macroinvertebrates favourite shading spot, and they refuse to move from where their tree was, and even when the Mayor Macroinvertebrate tells them off they do not move, and the Macroinvertebrates need shade, and then they die'. Macroinvertebrates need shade.
The flow is slow. Fussy Macroinvertebrates like fast-flowing streams. If your stream is slow, you will only find snails, snails, worms and maybe other yucky stuff. Or even nothing. The creek is dry, so it does not even have any water in it. 
There is sediment at the bottom of the pool, hardly any stones. Stones are good. As I said before: 'Mayfly likes stones because (1) they can hide from predators and (2) they are a good place to play hide-and-seek'. Sediment is mud. And as you know, mayfly, stonefly, caddisfly and so on are fussy.
 THERE IS NO ALGAE!!!! A thin layer of algae is good because then the Macroinvertebrates have something to chomp on. Loads of algae is bad. It would be like trying to eat the stalk of raw seaweed. I've tried that. But no algae means no food. The Macroinvertebrates would starve.
So, that is what the stream behind Waimairi is like. We didn't even see worms or slugs.

Although there are parts of the waterway ecosystem that are unhealthy, there are loads of changes we can do to make it better. Such as:
Plant trees to make shade and hold the bank together
Here is a new word: Kaitiakitanga. 'Kaitiakitanga' is a main cultural value in Maori and New Zealanders. 'Kai' means 'food from nature'. Kaitiakitanga' means if you pollute things you are practically disrespecting your ancestors because they are part of the land and waterways.
So we can have fun!!! We can kayak, dive, play, and generally have a lovely time. You can't swim in polluted water!
Bring back the real NZ! In the Maori times they had LOADS of tui, kiwi and fantail. If you plant native plants and trees you can make a sad little stream into a wonderful picnic place!
So we can turn from the Human Scum of the earth to the Lovely Caring Human Beings! Fish, birds and Macroinvertebrates need a nice place. Why don't we turn the tiny strip of water in your back garden into a nice, deep, unpolluted, healthy stream?
Pick up Bosh! Rubbish is probably the thing that is polluting waterways most. There is always chippy packets, chocolate bar wrappers and fruity bar papers. PICK UP RUBBISH! (And that goes to myself and almost the whole class, too.) Swimming in a rubbishy  lake is NOT fun. A note from my friend Sophie: that is why you should not eat 'unhealthy things'. It is 'bad for your heart', apparently. After all, 'unhealthy things usually have wrappers'. 

So I hope you have enjoyed reading this. This report. 
This ridiculous, funny, non-scientific, weird, strange report.
I made this report non-scientific on purpose so that people would even bother to read it, because nobody (except teachers) who knows me likes reading scientific reports. I bet. 
I think I need to make the title a bit more humorous than it is. "Naima's magnificent waterway report" is boring, don't you agree? Come on, I know what you are thinking! Yes, I do! I really do! 
In fact, I should call it something that would trick people reading this. I should call it: "The epic quest of the mayfly" or "ballad of the ninja crayfish", don't you agree? 
In fact, I have just made it that this report has two titles. One is "Naima's magnificent waterway report" and the other is "Ballad of the Ninja Crayfish." It's like the subtitle.

It took AGES to do this. All I wanted to do was relax, draw and listen to Narnia Audiobooks. But when I was half way through it, I started liking it! That is amazing! Usually writing a report is like trying to eat cold cabbage soup. Yuck. But if you actually know what you are writing about (and if you have somebody to talk to) it gets a little bit fun. 

So, I hope you enjoyed reading this! 

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