Wednesday, April 9, 2008

NZ Update

Glad to be on board! I figured that describing some of the work I've been involved in lately would be a good addition to the fish stories!

For those that don't know, I'm the Surface Water Quantity Scientist at Hawke's Bay Regional Council, in Napier, New Zealand. The Regional Councils are charged with the sustainable management of New Zealand's natural and cultural resources. I direct the science programs that deal with surface water resources in our region, which provide the necessary data for sustainable water management.

Hawke's Bay has a very similar climate to North Carolina, including it's susceptibility to very low streamflows in the the summer. Agricultural intensification and it's increasing irrigation demand is a direct stress on the Hawke's Bay rivers. Low-flows keep me busy!

The latest project I have been involved in is on the Tutaekuri River, modeling habitat availability for native and introduced fish species and invertebrates. The results of which will be used alongside economic and cultural values to set a minimum flow and allocable abstraction volume for the upper reaches of the Tutaekuri.

No good story is complete without a fish tale, so here's the latest.

My birthday was last weekend, so after my trip to the South Island for some modeling work and a workshop (tough job, I know), I was dying to go diving to try out the two new spearguns that I just finished. After a furious round of texting, I was able to put a trip together to dive Kapiti Island, north of Wellington.

The new guns performed awesomely and I was able to bring home some really nice blue moki, red goatfish, and terakihi (not pictured). The day was beautiful with relatively calm seas and just a little rain to keep things interesting. On the way back from Kapiti, I got a call from some other spearos, saying that I needed to hurry up and meet them for a bluewater trip off Mt. Taranaki, one of the more famous spots in New Zealand. I got home at 10pm, left the house at 12:30am and met up with the guys for the drive to New Plymouth. We were at the boat ramp before dawn and headed out into the open ocean. To make a long story short, we didn't get any fish, but the purple-blue water and incredible backdrop made it worth wile!


Patrick Mallette said...

Welcome aboard Kolt! A very excellent part of the world that you find yourself in, eh? Been to an All Blacks match yet? Also, watch out for idiots with hedgehogs.

Kolt Johnson said...

Hi there Pat, I'm new to the blog scene, so didn't see your comment until now.

Haven't been to any rugby or cricket matches yet. I'm usually out diving instead!

10-4 on the hedgehogs.

Elizabeth Carwell said...

Awesome scenery, awesome fish!
So glad you're doing well. My best friend is also living in NZ right now, so as soon as I get my pennies together, I'll be visiting.
I'm in Florida now. I'm excited about my new job- a consulting position helping manage the army corps' everglades restoration projects.
Keep in touch,
Take Care,