SEV applicability to Waikato Regional Council Freshwater Ecosystem Services project

Streamlined Environmental Ltd aquatic ecologists Dr Rebecca Eivers and Dr Ngaire Phillips have prepared a report on the applicability of the Stream Ecological Valuation (SEV) methodology as a semi-quantitative framework from which to derive functional scores of Freshwater Ecosystem Services (FWES) using the Waikato Regional Council’s (WRC) State of the Environment (SOE) monitoring data. This proof of concept was designed to assist WRC in meeting two key Phase 3 objectives of the FWES project, namely:

  • to examine trends in levels of ecosystem services over time for sampled waterbodies using the existing WRC State of Environment (SOE) data; and
  • to extrapolate the levels of ecosystems services identified across a range of scales (including reach, catchment and region) as applicable.

Using the WRC SOE data, approximately 85% of the 29 SEV variables could be populated, with 23 variables being fully covered, 2 partially covered and 4 not being directly covered by this data set. The significance of the data gaps was considered minor and could be addressed relatively easily. Based on this analysis proxy SEV scores were calculated for non-reference and reference stream sites.

The algorithms used in the SEV method provide a quantitative method for linking ecosystem functions to ecosystem services. Using a published methodology we matched SEV functions to MEA ecosystem service classifications.

We also investigated how these results could be applied over multiple spatial scales using GIS software.

Example of derived algorithms based on the SEV method that could be used to quantify MEA ecosystem services for various classes.

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