Conservation & Environmental Management
Verum Group undertakes a mix of conservation & environmental programmes. We have a flag-ship bioacoustics for wildlife monitoring programme with a Kiwi Santuary at Atarau. We also undertake acid mine drainage analysis and treatment, mine site rehabilitation programmes, contaminated site remediation, and passive water treatments and bioreactors.
Our bioacoustic, aka. acoustic monitoring, work began with the great spotted kiwi/ roroa, but has expanded to other bird species. Individual bird calls carry information that can be utilized as an alternative to physical tagging of individuals. However, it is rarely used in conservation tasks despite rapidly-expanding use of passive acoustic monitoring techniques. At Verum Group, we hope to make a difference to the way birds are monitored - introducing to New Zealand and other countries our non-invasive and accurate techniques. This work was recently presented to an ethusiastic audience at Cornell University - the home of the global eBird.
Researchers at Verum Group have successfully developed machine learning approaches for individually identifying roroa – great spotted kiwi (Apteryx haastii) by their calls. In the Paparoa Range, we collected and analysed hundreds of roroa calls from thousands of hours of recordings during the 2020/21 roroa breeding season, and have confirmed that individual adult roroa can be distinguished acoustically. Studies are ongoing, but we have also successfully applied these methods to the songs of riroriro – grey warblers (Gerygone igata) collected with directional microphones in the Christchurch and Banks Peninsula areas.
Acid Mine Drainage
Verum Group has a decades long history of studying and treating acid mine drainage - the acidic water laden with iron, sulfate, and other metals that can form both under natural conditions or by mining when strata containing pyrite are exposed to the air and oxidise. This acidic water can have a very detrimental effect on aquatic wildlife. With both international and national clients, we have the expertise to determine the optimal treatment process.
Passive Water Treatment
Among other passive water treatment Verum Group have beeen involved with, an innovative passive water treatment system, the world’s first full-scale vertical flow reactor (VFR), is becoming a reality at OceanaGold’s Reefton Restoration Project on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Scientists from Verum Group were instrumental in the design and installation of the system for the treatment of mine drainage. The system removes heavy metals from water seepages before the water is gravity fed into Devil’s Creek. These metals, such as iron and arsenic, exist naturally inside the rock, but they could threaten the natural ecosystem if released at high levels into the environment.
Mine Site Rehabilitation
Verum Group have extensive experience in mine site rehabilitation, with scientists from Verum Group having led and delivered the New Zealand Mine Environment Life-cycle Guide (MELG) research programme between 2014 and 2018. This project included collaboration with scientists from Landcare Research, O’Kane Consulting, Universities of Canterbury, Otago, and Auckland along with stakeholders from Regional Councils, iwi, Department of Conservation (DOC), and mining companies. Rehabilitation includes geochemistry treatments and environmental management and restoration.
Water is critical to the well-being of people, livestock, and the environment. Verum Group’s water testing options include, but are not limited to: pH, metals, E. coli, pesticide, faecal coliforms, hydrocarbons, VOCs, nitrates, etc. Where there are specific tests we can't do ourselves we have reliable subcontractors on standby to assist.