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Check Clean Dry Campaign Aims at More Than Just Didymo in HB

Check Clean Dry Campaign Aims at More Than Just Didymo in HB

The Check Clean Dry awareness programme to help prevent the spread of Didymo and other aquatic weeds has had a positive response from Hawke’s Bay river users this summer.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council supports the national Didymo campaign. Over summer Natalie de Burgh, a science student, has been employed to get out and about around the region’s waterways and talk to people about the Check Clean Dry campaign.

As well as the risks of Didymo spreading northwards, there are also several weeds in North Island waterways that Biosecurity staff in regional councils are working to prevent spreading further.

In Hawke’s Bay, Hydrilla is a major concern and HBRC is using the Check Clean Dry as an umbrella campaign to protect against the spread of this and all invasive aquatic weeds.

Natalie has been pleased with the high level of awareness of the potential risks.

“Most people are very aware of the easy way to eliminate the possibility of any plant material spreading by remembering to Check, Clean, Dry, and know the risks that Didymo poses to the North Island,” she says.

“And they are interested to learn that we have our own high risk weed. Hawke’s Bay is the only place in New Zealand where Hydrilla is found and we need everyone’s continued help to prevent this spreading further by keeping up the Check Clean Dry actions.”

Hydrilla is commonly called the world’s worst aquatic weed. It is currently only found in the wild in Lakes Tūtira, Waikapiro, Opouahi and Eland where it is being controlled by grass carp.

As tiny fragments of weed, can remain viable almost indefinitely if kept damp, they can grow and spread if they drop into another lake, stream or river from the bottom of a boat, trailer, fishing gear or even a tramping boot.

Natalie will be working on the campaign in Hawke’s Bay until the end of February, and will especially be ensuring schools have the message when planning outdoor education trips during Term One.

For suspected Didymo finds, contact the MAF hotline 0800 80 99 66. For further information on cleaning methods go to www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests/didymo/cleaning .

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