News & Publications

SHMAK Manual

The Stream Health Monitoring and Assessment Kit (SHMAK) has been developed by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in partnership with Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

The SHMAK manual is still in draft format while we seek feedback from users of the kit. You can download the entire manual here.

SHMAK Forms and Data Sheets

The SHMAK datasheet was designed to accompany the tests found in the SHMAK manual.

The catchment description form accompanies the material outlined in Chapter Two of the SHMAK manual. You may want to add to, expand, or remove some of the questions asked in this form.

The monitoring plan form accompanies the material outlined in Chapter Two of the SHMAK manual. You may want to add to, expand, or remove some of the questions asked in this form.

There are potential hazards involved with any community environmental projects and we recommend you develop a Health and Safety Plan before undertaking any field work. We have provided an example health and safety form. We suggest you consult your regional council for Health and Safety Guides that can help you develop your Health and Safety Plan. For example, Greater Wellington Regional Council has comprehensive information on safety procedures. Another great resource is the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust's Safety Management Plan.

SHMAK Videos

In 2018, NIWA, in collaboration with Nelson City Council (NCC), Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), Auckland Council (AC) and Northland Regional Council (NRC) developed a series of instructional videos covering:

  • An overview of the SHMAK, including its components and its core applications for water monitoring,
  • Correct procedures for carrying out the measurements for each component of the SHMAK, including health and safety around rivers and streams, collection of water samples, measurement of visual water clarity, observations of periphyton cover, collection of macroinvertebrate samples, and assessments of stream habitat quality.

The videos can be accessed on NIWA's YouTube page for now and will be available on this website and NIWA's SHMAK website soon.

The videos were funded by an Envirolink Large Advice Grant with additional funding provided by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and Wellington City Council (WCC).

SHMAK Benthic Macroinvertebrate Guide

This field identification guide can help you ID your bugs!

Other Benthic Macroinvertebrate Identification Resources

iNaturalistNZ - Mātaki Taiao webpage and smartphone app is an excellent resource for help with those hard to identify creatures. Download the app before you go in the field and be prepared to take photos if you come across anything you don’t recognise.

Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research provides a web resource to assist community groups monitoring freshwater invertebrates in New Zealand.

There are many other excellent identification resources. We highly recommend you check out Auckland Council's WaiCare WIMP guide, EOS Ecology Banks Peninsula Freshwater Invertebrate Identification Chart, and A Photographic Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates of Taranaki's Rivers and Streams.

Periphyton Identification Resources

The Periphyton Field Identification Guide can help you to identify the major categories of stream periphyton used in SHMAK assessments.

Want to learn more about stream periphyton? NIWA’s Stream Periphyton Monitoring Manual contains more deatailed information on stream monitoring in NZ.

Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research has a web resource to assist community groups monitoring freshwater algae in New Zealand.

Fish Identification Resources

NIWA has developed a number of Freshwater fish ID guides/keys. The fact sheets provide some information on each species and a map of their known, and expected (i.e. modelled) geographic distributions. To access and download information on individual species, go to the Fish Finder and select the species from the menus.

A number of other excellent resources for learning about and identifying New Zealand freshwater fish exist. We recommend checking out the links below.

iNaturalistNZ - Mātaki Taiao webpage and smartphone app is an excellent resource for help with those hard to identify creatures. Download the app before you go in the field and be prepared to take photos if you come across any fish you don’t recognise.

More information can be found on the Department of Conservation's website.

Bacterial Monitoring

Before undertaking any bacterial monitoring, we recommend you read over the manufacturers guidance for the bacterial plates you are using. There are two commonly used plates for growing bacteria that are easy to purchase in New Zealand.

1. Petrifilm™

Petrifilm™ E. coli/Coliform Count Plates are developed by 3M™ and can be ordered from Thermo Fisher Scientific New Zealand.

The interpretation guide is available here.

2. MC-Media Pads (also called Sanita-kun)

MC Media Pads (may also be writted as sheets or plates) for E.coli/coliform are developed by Merck and sold by Ngaio Diagnostics in Nelson, NZ.

More information on the MC-Media Pads can be found on their webpage.

The video on the Merck webpage can provide more information.