Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Kolt Update

After reading the latest Alumni Newsletter, I was reminded how great it was to be a part of ECU Geology. I’m sad to say that I won’t make this year’s Pig Pickin’, so will have to pass on a few updates via the interweb.

This past summer has been very busy with a host of projects, a drought, and lots of extra-curricular activities. Recent issues surrounding water allocation in Hawke’s Bay have highlighted the need for updated information on fundamental catchment hydrology. One of our projects this year has been a concurrent gauging program in the Ruataniwha Plains. This involves 36 sites on 5 river systems, all gauged for flow at the same time. Irrigation bans were also imposed to allow the catchments to equalize before gauging to ensure that natural conditions were measured – not an easy pill to swallow for farmers during a drought! We have since pushed through the hard times and the results are looking good.

Micheal Taylor gauging the Maharakeke Stream in the Ruataniwha Plains

The Mangatewai Stream at the base of the Ruahine Ranges

Work on the Tutaekuri River has also kept me busy. This is a continuation of last year’s survey on habitat-flow relationships. A lot of meticulous measurements afield have led to successful modeling back in the office. This project will end soon and the results will be fed into the flow-setting process, which will ultimately provide a sound basis for water management in this catchment.

Walking the Tutaekuri River during a habitat mapping exercise

In other news, this past summer provided some amazing underwater experiences. The Extreme Freedom divers went near and far and pulled up a few denizens from the deep. Highlights are hard to separate from the ordinary – it’s just too good here! There are a few notable things to mention – Me and Nick Williams teamed up for both the North Island and NZ National Spearfishing Championships and earned respectable 7th and 13th place finishes, respectively. I’ve also taken to hunting with a polespear – the most primitive form of spearfishing. It really tests the skills of an underwater hunter and has given me some great memories. I’m currently developing a polespear for the NZ market. Finally, I’ve been documenting my adventures and sharing them with the rest of the world through the magazines NZ Spearo and Hawaii Skin Diver. If you ever see one on the shelf, grab a copy!

23kg yellowtail kingfish by polespear

Another polespeared yellowtail kingfish on a rough day

Pink Maomao from Gisborne - see

My best wishes go out to ECU Geology and the faculty, staff, and students. I’ll have to book my flights for Pig Pickin’ 2010!

No hydrologist is complete without a fly rod...Tukutuki River rainbows agree!

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