MenuMain navigation

Stream Health Monitoring and Assessment Kit (SHMAK)

The Stream Health Monitoring and Assessment Kit (SHMAK) helps land owners and community groups monitor the ecological health of local streams using simple, but scientifically sound, methods.

The SHMAK Kit has been designed for farm families to monitor the "health" of the streams that flow across their land. It allows farmers to keep a record of long-term trends (whether streams are improving, degrading or staying the same) and also of short-term impacts. It provides a way to help farmers to assess whether their land-use practices are affecting their waterways.

The methodology is also appropriate for community groups, Fish & Game officers, regional council field officers, or anyone wishing to obtain a general indication of the health and ecology of rural streams.

Key elements 

Stream health

Stream health refers to the condition of the whole waterway. Monitoring stream health involves looking at not only water quality but also the physical features of the stream and the plants and animals living there.


Monitoring means making a standard set of measurements and observations at regular intervals (for example, every month) and keeping records of the results so that they can be compared over time.


The Assessment part of the kit involves assigning scores to each monitoring result and then using the scores to determine the condition of a stream. These scores are compared over time to see whether stream health is changing. This provides an opportunity to make management changes if necessary and then to see how effective such changes are in improving the stream.

The kit 

The Kit includes a manual of instructions, identification guides, some simple instruments and a carrying case.

Please note: 

The SHMAK kits are currently being redeveloped with detail to be added soon.  Please contact Instrument Systems for information and pricing.

More information on SHMAK

Ordering the kit 

For a quote or to order, please contact:


Members of the Silverstream Restoration Group (Upper Hutt) monitoring the type and amount of periphyton (algae) growing in the Mawaihakona Stream. [Allen Sheppard]
Research subject: Water Quality