The Canterbury region is a case-study for the failure of freshwater management in New Zealand. The last 3 – 4 decades have seen a massive unlimited change in landuse intensity, from dry sheep and beef farming and cropping to intensive irrigated dairy. This talk will highlight the incredible pace of change in landuse and the equally rapid concurrent decline in the health of rivers lakes and groundwater.

The failure of ECAN to do anything to halt the freshwater declines and the politicisation of freshwater policy at central government that played a big part in this failure will also be revealed.

Speaker biography

Mike Joy BSc, MSc (1st class hons), PhD in Ecology is a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University. He researches and teaches freshwater ecology, especially freshwater fish ecology and distribution, ecological modelling bioassessment and environmental science. He has and continues to supervise many Masters and PhD students doing research into freshwater ecology, with topics from native fish ecology to farmers’ attitudes to sustainability.

Mike has published many papers in scientific journals, many international as well as articles and op-eds for newspapers and magazines. He has authored many reports for Regional Councils and ministry for the environment, and has developed a number of bioassessment tools and associated software used by many North Island Regional Councils.

Mike is an outspoken advocate for environmental protection in New Zealand and has received a number of awards including an Ecology in Action award from the NZ ecological Society, an Old Blue award from Forest and Bird, the 2013 Charles Fleming Award for environmental action from the Royal Society of New Zealand, in 2015 the Morgan Foundation inaugural River Voice Award and 2017 he received the inaugural NZ Universities Critic and Conscience award.

Venue: ChristChurch Cathedral Transitional New Zealand (the Cardboard Cathedral), 234 Hereford Street, Christchurch

Related content

Explore our varied resources on New Zelanda's freshwater fish – note that many of these resources are in both te reo Māori and English. This includes the interactive image Healthy farms, healthy fish/He painga mō te pāmu, he painga mō te ika.

Use this activity to help your students identify the features of a variety of New Zealand freshwater species.

EBM – ecosystem-based management – is a holistic and inclusive approach for managing an ecosystem. In this activity, students use EBM principles as a framework to consider how a local area of significance could be managed. Alternatively, it can form the basis for planning a local environmental project.

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