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More lakes to go under protection programme

Monday 5 December 2005

More lakes to go under protection programme

Five new Rotorua lakes will be brought under the official umbrella of the Rotorua Lakes Protection and Restoration Action Programme next year.

Environment Bay of Plenty, Rotorua District Council and Te Arawa Maori Trust Board are already working together with the community to save five degraded lakes in the Rotorua district, including Lake Rotoiti.

Now, the trio will work closely with local communities to draw up Action Plans for another set of lakes. The process will start with Lake Tarawera and Lake Rotoma in January. Lake Tikitapu and Lake Okataina will follow in March. Lake Rotokakahi’s process will begin by July.

Lake Rotomahana and Lake Rerewhakaaitu are scheduled for Action Plan development in 2008. However, that timetable will change if their quality starts to deteriorate, says project coordinator Paul Dell.

Mr Dell says that the four new lakes generally have good water quality and some actions are already being taken to protect them. However, Action Plans will help ensure they retain their quality over the long term.

“We have made a huge amount of progress on the other lakes over the past two or three years with a number of major actions already being taken, and many more on the way. It’s been a major effort by the agencies involved, and by the community.”

Working parties, made up of representatives from the community, sector groups, iwi and relevant organisations, help lakes management staff to draw up Action Plans for their own lakes. These Action Plans look at the water quality issues and risks facing the lakes and come up with solutions to improve or maintain good water quality over the long-term. The actions are then discussed with the general community.

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“We have used this process to develop Action Plans for the other lakes, and it has worked extremely well,” Mr Dell says.

Mr Dell says Environment Bay of Plenty has been “keeping a close eye” on the remaining seven lakes through regular water quality monitoring. Some lakes will be boosted by planned sewerage reticulation. The lakes have upgraded requirements for septic tanks, weed spread prevention, and a number of riparian protection works.

All these lakes will eventually have an Action Plan to protect and if necessary restore their lake water quality to the water quality targets set by the community and recorded in the proposed Regional Water and Land Plan.

ENDS

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