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Fixing the Rotorua Lakes

Media Release

Fixing the Rotorua Lakes

Fixing the Rotorua lakes is the theme of a major symposium in Rotorua in early October.

Rotorua Lakes 2003 will explore practical management to improve lake water quality. It will put international and New Zealand scientists in the same room as local farmers, home-owners, foresters, environmental planners, iwi, and both district and regional councillors.

Hosted by the LakesWater Quality Society and the Royal Society of NZ (Rotorua Branch), the symposium will be held on October 9 and 10 at the Centra Hotel in Rotorua. It is being funded mostly by Environment Bay of Plenty's Environmental Enhancement Fund, with some support also from Environment Waikato.

“This is the Society's third event in three years designed to increase understanding of the science and management of the Rotorua lakes", says Ian McLean, chairman of the LakesWater Quality Society. "Lakes in the Rotorua district were once clear and limpid. Now year by year more parts of these lakes are green with potentially toxic algal blooms.

"The underlying cause is the increased flow of nutrients from sewage and stormwater, farms and forests. The loss of lakes for recreation is a national environmental disaster. Similar problems are now arising in more and more lakes and rivers across New Zealand. And to solve them, you can't just look at the lake itself, you must look at the whole catchment and the way the land is used within it."

The LakesWater Quality Society, Environment Bay of Plenty, Rotorua District Council and other organisations seek to reduce nutrients in the lakes - and the symposium will explore practical ways of doing that, he says.

The two-day programme focuses on nutrient management in lake catchments and its effect on lakes, with examples based on world best practice and leading New Zealand science and experience.

Keynote speakers include two United States scientists, hydrologist Dr Jake Peters of the USGS, who specialises in water quality in watersheds, and Dr Del Bottcher, a modeller of nutrient flows in catchments, who has worked in saving Lake Okeechobee. Professor David Hamilton, who holds the Environment Bay of Plenty Chair of Lake Management and Restoration at the University of Waikato, will be the first keynote speaker.

"We need to find a way to improve the lakes while getting sustainable economic development in the district."

If you wish to attend the symposium, please fax (07) 362 4701 or email grahamb@clear.net.nz for a registration form. You can also find the registration form on the Rotorua Lakes 2003 Symposium link at www.rotorua.rsnz.org. Registration costs $65.

ENDS

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