Protection for dune lakes

by Paul Campbell

Kai Iwi Lakes have been included in a Northland Regional Council protection programme for much-needed new fencing and provision of stock water supplies as well as water-care measures.

The Northland Dune Lakes Strategic Water Quality Improvement project aims to invest almost $1.6 million during a five-year period to improve more than two dozen of the region’s fragile dune lakes in the Far North’s Aupouri and Kaipara’s Pouto/Kai Iwi Lakes areas.

The project is co-funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s Freshwater Improvement Fund and NRC, each contributing $782,697.

“The most recently-completed work has occurred at Lake Shag and privately owned Midgley’s Lake in the Kai Iwi Lakes area. Lake Shag has now also been fully fenced and reticulated,” said NRC’s manager for environmental services, Bruce Howse.

“We’re also considering adding this lake to our quarterly water monitoring schedule to track future water quality improvements, and Te Roroa is also investigating the potential of planting out a large area between the fence and the lake, which if it goes ahead would also contribute to improved water quality.”

Midgley’s Lake has been reticulated with intentions of fencing it through separate regional council funding later this year.

“This is a lake where council is also targeting grass carp removal during the next three years, so these three actions collectively should help improve water quality.”

The ministry’s fund is for water bodies in vulnerable catchments that are showing signs of stress, but which crucially have not yet reached a ‘tipping point’ when it becomes more expensive and more difficult to restore them to good health.

“These all involve a strong degree of collaboration between our council, central government, local iwi and our primary sector with a shared goal of improving freshwater quality.”

Further information is available online via nrc.govt.nz/dunelakesproject.