[9 October/ New Zealand Herald]

NIWA and DairyNZ have asked anyone who has planted along stream banks to log on at riparian.niwa.co.nz to formally record their work. This online survey will form the foundation of the National Riparian Restoration Database, to help scientists better understand how riparian buffers benefit waterways. The focus is on sites over five to 10 years old. Freshwater Scientists Aslan Wright-Stow and Richard Storey have found that numerous riparian projects lead to quick ecological stream recover; however, others need longer to deliver all the benefits. Dr Storey said survey information would help determine which characteristics of riparian buffer strips are most effective in improving water quality and stream health. Once the database is underway, 50 sites around New Zealand will be selected and monitored over a 12-18-month period. Citizen scientists will be invited to help and will receive NIWA training and equipment. Citizen scientist assessments will then be evaluated by scientists.