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Home > Our region and environment > Coast > Tauranga Moana > Monitoring and research

Monitoring and research

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Environmental monitoring

Monitoring shows that commonly used beaches in Tauranga Harbour generally have good water quality although some areas become unsafe for swimming for approximately 48 hours (two days) after heavy or prolonged rain.

The harbour bed is generally in good health except for localised ‘hot-spots’ around stormwater outfalls and some areas where intense urban development  is having a negative impact on wildlife such as sea grass and filter-feeding shellfish species.

The regional council has an extensive monitoring programme in place for the Harbour and its catchment. This includes:

  • water quality monitoring at 13 harbour sites and 10 rivers or stream sites
  • bathing beach water quality monitoring at 12 sites harbour beaches and 7 river sites
  • Shellfish quality monitoring at 23 sites
  • Sea lettuce abundance, tissue nutrient and water nutrient monitoring at 3 sites
  • Bacteriological monitoring of streams/drains and harbour water at harbour edge communities using on-site effluent treatment systems.
  • Seagrass extent
  • Mangrove extent
  • Marine benthic macrofauna monitoring
  • Sediment contamination monitoring
  • Estuary sedimentation rate transect monitoring at 17 sites
  • Estuary sediment accumulation plate monitoring at 59 sites
  • Sea level monitoring (live monitoring from 3 sites in southern Harbour)
  • Meteorological monitoring at Otumoetai.
  • Sea water temperature (live monitoring from Plummers Point Wharf).
  • River and stream flow monitoring
  • Soil health monitoring

Results of the monitoring are made available in regularly published reports which can be found below or in our library.

Some water quality testing trend information is available on our live monitoring page or the the Land Air Water Aotearoa website.


Tauranga Harbour research and reports

Regional Council leads and supports a wide range of research on Tauranga Harbour related topics.

This includes through the funding of the University of Waikato Chair of Coastal Science and working closely with Manaaki Taha Moana and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic.

Visit our library to access a wide range of additional monitoring and technical reports. The most recent and relevant are identified by topic below.

General topics

Water quality and shellfish research

Marine biosecurity

Sedimentation research:



Sea lettuce research


In progress:

  • PhD study on Impacts of macroalgal mats on benthic communities in Tauranga Harbour
  • PhD study on Nutrient & ulva dynamics in Tauranga Harbour

Pollution research


In progress:

Ecology research




Dredging research