String of achievements since Lake Horowhenua Accord
String of achievements since Lake Horowhenua Accord established
A string of achievements in the four months since the Lake Horowhenua Accord was established has kick-started efforts to return the lake to its former healthy state.
The Accord, committed to by the Lake Horowhenua Trust, Lake Domain Board, Horowhenua District Council, Horizons Regional Council and the Department of Conservation, sets out the primary issues and lays out goals and actions needed to improve the condition of the lake and also the Hokio Stream outlet to the sea.
Lake Accord chairman Matt Sword says all five parties in the Accord have come together to collaborate, progress and resolve - once and for all - the condition of the lake and the stream.
Initial activities include the installation of a flow-monitor at the lake outlet and a lake level recorder.
The quality of water in streams entering the lake is now being continually monitored, as well as the lake water quality itself to measure factors such as oxygen levels and the volume of potentially toxic blue-green algae.
There has been extensive fish population surveying which shows the impact of pest fish, such as perch and goldfish, is not having significant impact on the lake.
The survey discovered that eel are highly abundant, however it also found the Hokio Stream weir is proving a barrier and preventing flounder, grey mullet and inanga from migrating from the sea to the lake. As a solution, Horizons staff have designed a fish pass for the weir, with plans to have it built and installed in coming months.
Other work includes planting more than 2000 native shrubs and trees alongside the Hokio and Arawhata streams. Further restoration planting is planned for autumn next year. Protective fencing that stretches 2.5 kilometres has been also completed.
A boat wash-down facility at the lake is being explored and a potential site is to be announced soon. The Accord parties are now working to establish a partnership with horticultural growers to find solutions for run-off to waterways.
Mr Sword says a detailed Lake Restoration Strategy will be presented in the near future.
“However, the efforts so far are a fantastic start towards returning the lake to a healthy state. It is early days and we are looking forward to ramping up our efforts in the coming months," he said.
Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy says the Accord parties are providing the leadership needed to halt the degradation and put in place remedial measures to gradually return the lake so it can regain "pride of place in the Horowhenua community".
And, Mayor Duffy is delighted with progress.
"It's a brilliant result so far and these achievements bring us that bit closer to a fantastic outcome," he said.