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Check, Clean, Dry still the go this summer

Check, Clean, Dry still the go this summer

For immediate release: Tuesday 22 December 2009

Check, Clean, Dry is a message you’ll come across if you’re out enjoying the Rotorua Lakes this summer.

Environment Bay of Plenty summer students Clint Neilson and Stephanie Jeffries are working with Department of Conservation contractor Amy Greeves to raise awareness about aquatic pests and to promote the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ message to lake users.

The three of them will be busy this summer attending events and visiting boat ramps, camping grounds and other key sites around the lakes to make recreational lake users aware of the need to be responsible and help keep the lakes cleaner.

Clint said aquatic pests could spread quickly and easily.

“At this stage the Rotorua lakes are free from all pest fish and some aquatic weeds, so we’ll be working to make sure we keep it that way,” said Clint.

“It only takes a fragment of weed to begin the spread of invasive aquatic weeds and pest fish. Lake users should always follow a Check, Clean, Dry process.

“This means checking all your equipment for any weed fragments and, to prevent the spread of didymo, cleaning with a five percent detergent solution, before drying for 48 hours or more,” Clint explained.

Aquatic pests include weeds, pest fish and didymo, which is an invasive freshwater microscopic alga that forms a thick brown layer which smothers rocks and submerged plants on the lake or river bed. These blooms are a serious threat to native plant and fish life, and also to recreational use of the area.

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With the influx of visitors expected during summer, the students know that awareness is the key to protecting our lakes from any further aquatic pests this summer.

“A big part of our work is getting the message out among lake users about the damage that aquatic pests can do, and the positive impact that individuals can make by simply checking, cleaning and drying their gear,” said Stephanie.

The publicity and awareness work by the students has been boosted with the introduction of a decontamination trailer for lake and river events. The trailer is an Environment Bay of Plenty and Department of Conservation project and is a complete decontamination drive-through unit for vehicles and boats.

ENDS

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