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Key Report on Rotorua Lakes Released

23 January 2003
Media Statement
Key Report on Rotorua Lakes Released

A new report on management options for Lakes Rotoiti and Rotorua recommends that management options are trialled where knowledge of the lakes and catchments is good enough. However, short-term investigations are needed to fill some gaps in knowledge before it is safe to begin management.

The recommended approach is one of “adaptive management”.

The report, prepared by Dr Bruce Hamilton, of Western Australia, was released today by Barry Carbon, Chief Executive of the Ministry for the Environment.

Dr Hamilton was commissioned by the Ministry to advise on managing algal blooms and other symptoms of poor water quality in Lakes Rotoiti and Rotorua and the causes of those problems.

“Our aim was to provide another source of practical advice for Environment Bay of Plenty, which has the lead role in management of the lakes,” Barry Carbon said. “Dr Hamilton has extensive experience in managing water quality and integrated catchment management.”

“The report looks at activities already being undertaken or investigated and at other possible management options. The recommendations focus on dealing with the symptoms of poor water quality while working to better understand the processes in the lakes and catchments that contribute to the problems,“ Mr Carbon said.

The priority recommendations cover:
- Trials with nutrient stripping materials and oxygenation separately and together to determine the best methods of using them
- Temporary groynes to trap suspended material carrying nutrients from Lake Rotorua to Lake Rotoiti, to check the best form of permanent structure
- Temporary structures to test options for diverting the Ohau Channel, through which nutrients flow from Lake Rotorua to Lake Rotoiti
- Investigation of booms to contain and concentrate the worst algal blooms
- Continuing research and modelling aimed at increasing understanding of catchment and lake processes and the effects of the management measures trialled.

Mr Carbon said that Environment Bay of Plenty was already working on or has now started many investigations related to the recommendations in the report.

“Managing the problems in Lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti is complex, as this report clearly shows. We believe that Dr Hamilton’s input is a valuable contribution to the process now getting under way to finalise action plans for these lakes.” Barry Carbon said.

Background: Dr Bruce Hamilton

Bruce has worked for 28 years in the Western Australian Government, primarily in environmental and natural resource management.

Bruce pioneered programs in coastal management, environmental planning, strategic control of air pollution and hazardous chemicals, and was strongly involved in the early years of environmental impact assessment in Australia.

Bruce led the final phase and implementation of the Peel-Harvey Management Strategy, one of the biggest successful estuarine rescues in the world. He established the Swan River Trust, three new waterways management authorities and numerous management programs for rivers and estuaries.

Since 1999 Bruce has been a private consultant working in natural resource management, environmental management and organisational management.

Copies of the report are available electronically or via the Ministry’s website at 5.30pm, January 22, 2004

See www.mfe.govt.nz

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