Author:Alison MacDiarmid, Jeanie Stenton-Dozey, Helen Roulston
Source:Auckland Council Research, Investigations and Monitoring Unit, RIMU
Over the period 2008-2011 the Marine Habitat Assessment Decision Support (MarHADS) tool was jointly developed by NIWA and a team of regional council coastal scientists and planners (including Auckland Council staff) to assist regional council resource managers and decision makers to critically assess the relative state and value of coastal habitats. It was envisaged by the participating councils that standardisation of the assessments through application of the tool would enable comparison of habitat values within and among regions and at a national level. To-date no council has used the MarHADS tool to assess any marine habitats.
In March 2013 NIWA was engaged by Auckland Council (AC) to test and apply the MarHADS tool, and to develop and apply a methodology to combine the individual habitat scores for a sub-region, such as a harbour, estuary, or bay. This was the first opportunity to explore the capabilities of the tool. The approach taken was deliberately interactive with two workshops with AC staff to ensure relevant data were available; jointly undertake some initial assessments; develop an approach to combining assessments; and, through reviews by AC staff of a subset of preliminary habitat assessments undertaken by the NIWA team, develop consensus on scoring habitats.
Auckland Council technical report TR2014/004