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Lake Horowhenua boat wash now open for use

Lake Horowhenua boat wash now open for use

A boat wash-down facility to reduce the risk of further lake weed species being introduced to Lake Horowhenua is now open for use.

Located about 600 metres from the lake at the end of Queen Street in Levin, the boat wash design and construction was made possible with $20,000 from the lake's $1.27 million restoration fund. This includes $540,000 from the Ministry for the Environment's Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean-Up Fund, and $730,500 of combined funding from Horizons Regional Council, Horowhenua District Council, the Tararua Growers Association and Dairy NZ.

The fund will be used for projects designed to improve the health of the lake largely through the reduction of sediment and nutrient input. The goal is to make the lake fit for recreational purposes; a better habitat for native fish, birds and wetland plants; and improve public accessibility to the lake.

Lake Horowhenua Accord chairman Matthew Sword says excessive lake weed is a key issue and that the boat wash will reduce the possibility of aquatic weed from elsewhere being transferred into lake Horowhenua.

"The weed helps to a certain point by drawing out nutrients, but too much weed creates problems."

Mr Sword says a feature of the boat wash is that the soapy and dirty water run-off will go into the sewerage reticulation and straight to Levin's wastewater treatment plant, and not into the stormwater system.

Other projects well-underway include lake weed harvesting, as well as planting along riparian strips with 1000 trees and shrubs already planted along the Hokio Stream last month and another 650 planted alongside the Arawhata Stream last week. A community planting day is planned for September, with a date and location to be confirmed.

Also, earlier this month Horizons Regional Council launched a new boat to monitor the lake's water quality.

Horizons' science team samples lake water quality on a monthly basis to assess its trophic level – a measure of lake health. Continuous monitoring of dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, temperature and algae levels is also carried out via a lake buoy.

A fish pass for the weir in the Hokio Stream to improve the link between the lake and the sea has been designed and is now being constructed. Once installed it will allow fish to pass freely and help increase native fish populations in the lake.

A stormwater treatment system for the Queen Street Drain, the main stormwater inflow to the lake from Levin's township, will be installed. This will be a three-stage project and is necessary to reduce inputs of sediment and nutrient into the lake to reduce weed growth, cyanobacteria growth and lake infilling.

Work programmes will also soon be prepared for installing artificial wetlands and sediment traps to reduce nutrient leaching into the lake.

There will also be an integrated stormwater management plan created for the Arawhata sub-catchment.

Meanwhile, Tararua Growers Association will work with Accord partners to create drainage and sediment control plans for up to 500 hectares of cropping farms.

And, Dairy NZ will help prepare sustainable milk production plans for dairy farms in the catchment.

Mr Sword says it is fantastic to see progress being made to restore the troubled lake.

“By publically identifying what we will be doing, what the community can do and what the key issues are, we are drawing a line in the sand and making a real commitment to the future of the lake," he said.

Sunday 3 August will be the first anniversary of the signing of He Hokioi Rerenga Tahi - the Lake Horowhenua Accord - and the occasion will be marked with the launch of an Action Plan for lake restoration activities for the next two years.

ENDS

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