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Taking action to protect Lake Wakatipu

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Government, councils and private operators have banded together to keep the aquatic weed lagarosiphon (South African oxygen weed) out of Lake Wakatipu.

Land Information New Zealand, with strong backing from Otago Regional Council and Queenstown Lakes District Council, has established a formal weed management group to keep the threat of lagarosiphon at bay.

"Lagarosiphon has unfortunately infested surrounding rivers and lakes, but our magnificent Lake Wakatipu is currently clear," says LINZ biosecurity manager Dave Mole.

"If we let the weed creep into the lake it will establish quickly, having an economic impact and threatening recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, water-skiing and jet-boating.

"The weed grows up to five metres, strangling native plants and ecology, and poses safety problems and hazards for lake users.

"Control work is already underway to mitigate the risk of weed transfer from an infestation in the Kawarau River close to the Frankton Arm.

"The management group will work together to make lake users more aware of the risks of weed getting into the lake and how to prevent the transfer."

Members of the Lake Wakatipu aquatic weed management group are Land Information New Zealand, Otago Regional Council, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Ministry of Primary Industries, the Department of Conservation and two commercial operators on the lake. NIWA provides scientific support to the group, and iwi have been invited to join the effort.

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