9 Aug 2017

Nothing in new freshwater push deals with nitrate - ecology expert

From Morning Report, 8:43 am on 9 August 2017

A new push to clean up New Zealand's waterways fails to address the biggest problem of nitrate seeping off farms into rivers, according to a leading freshwater scientist.

On Tuesday the government announced $44 million in funding for community and council projects aimed at improving freshwater quality all over the country.

The funding is a good strategy for keeping phosphorus out of the water but it does not handle nitrate, he said.

''Nitrate is now the problem that we have in many of our waterways. It increases the algae biomass, more slime's growing in the rivers, that changes the whole food web, less food for fish.

''And the whole health of the river system [will] decline from there."