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New weapon in the fight against aquatic pests



New tool to fight spread of aquatic pests
For immediate release: Wednesday 15 October 2008

Lake Rotoma has a new weapon in the fight against aquatic pests this summer.

A weed cordon has been set up at the Merge Lodge Boat Ramp, to help prevent any unwanted weeds getting into the lake from boats and trailers using the ramp.

Environment Bay of Plenty pest plant officer Richard Mallinson said the net, which surrounded the boat ramp and was about 90 meters on each side, had been specifically designed to confine any fragments of weeds that might have come into the lake on boats or trailers.

“Our focus for Lake Rotoma is on preventing both hornwort and egeria getting into the lake where they could establish with devastating results,” Mr Mallinson said.

“Unfortunately our challenge is made more difficult because these weeds are found in other Rotorua lakes. Because the lakes are so close geographically, it’s common for a boat to go out on more than one lake in a day and unintentionally spread pests.”

The net was specially created by net builder Colin Major, who Mr Mallinson said had significant amount of experience in this area.

“It’s a fine mesh, which will hopefully stop any fragments getting through it,” Mr Mallinson said. “At its deepest point it’s 3.5 metres deep, weighed down by a chain, and is clearly marked by yellow floats and port and starboard markers for boats navigating their way into and out of the area.”

Monitoring will take place during the next year to see how successful the net is, work out if any alternations need to be made to the design, and see if it has any effect on the lake’s fish and birdlife.

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A similar net is planned for Lake Rotoehu, although its purpose will be to keep weeds in the lake and stop them from getting onto boat trailers.

“In Lake Rotoehu, which already has weed infestations, the net will create a weed-free area at the boat ramp. This reduces the chance of boaties backing their trailer into the lake and collecting some unwanted fragment that they could transfer to another lake.”

Mr Mallinson said the nets didn’t reduce the need for boaties, or anyone using the lakes, to make sure they cleaned, checked and, where possible, dried their gear after leaving one waterway and before entering another.

The project, which is being led by Environment Bay of Plenty with support from Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Sanfords, Eastern Region Fish and Game, The Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand is just one method being used to help prevent the spread of aquatic weeds in the Rotorua’s iconic lakes.

For more information about stopping the spread of aquatic weeds and the Rotorua lakes visit Environment Bay of Plenty’s website www.envbop.govt.nz




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