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Updated recreational information for Waitaki lakes

December 10, 2008

 

MEDIA STATEMENT

Updated recreational information for Waitaki lakes users
 

A new pamphlet which will help the 15,000 to 20,000 people who visit the Waitaki lakes each year keep safe on water and land has been released by Waitaki Lakes Shoreline Authorities Committee. 

“The summer season can be very busy, and we want to avoid accidents and problems on the water,” says Environment Canterbury’s navigation safety manager, Evan Walker.  “For example, people should keep well away from dam inflow and outflow areas, as they can be very dangerous. People should not be tempted to fish in these areas”

Waimate mayor John Coles says visitors need to be aware of both hazards as well as highlights. “The pamphlet makes everyone aware of local camping and boating rules, lists useful contact numbers for information and emergencies, as well as interesting facts about the area’s wildlife and hydrodams.”

There are warnings about the dangers to the lakes and waterways of aquatic pests, such as lagarosiphon (oxygen weed) and didymo. Didymo, a freshwater algae, is classified under the Biosecurity Act as an unwanted organism.

“Streams and rivers in the upper part of the catchment are mainly free from this pest, and, with the exception of parts of Lake Benmore, South Canterbury lakes are generally free from aquatic weeds. We want to keep it that way,” says ECan’s biosecurity manager Graham Sullivan. “All water users have a role to play by checking boats, trailers and fishing gear, particularly when moving from one water body to another. Check, clean, dry,” he says.

The Waitaki Lakes Shoreline Authorities Committee is made up of representatives from Meridian Energy, Biosecurity New Zealand, Land Information (LINZ), the Department of Conservation, the Waitaki, Mackenzie, and Waimate district councils, the Waitaki Lakes and Rivers Committee and Environment Canterbury (ECan). The committee takes a coordinated approach to managing the Waitaki lakes area.

The pamphlet is available at local visitor centres, the Department of Conservation, council offices and online at www.ecan.govt.nz/waitakilakes

The latest results of water tests from popular swimming spots at the lakes are available at www.ecan.govt.nz/swimming

ends

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