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Check, Clean And Dry To Prevent Freshwater Pests

‘Check, Clean, Dry’ is the message for all freshwater users to prevent didymo and other weeds infesting our waterways this summer.

This applies to anglers, kayakers, swimmers, boaties, trampers or anyone else who comes into contact with our streams, lakes and rivers.

Freshwater pests can spread through activities in and around waterways, so its essential to clean all gear using the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ method:

· Check: all gear and equipment that has been in the water for any visible plant fragments and remove them, leaving them far away from the water’s edge.

· Clean: all gear and equipment with a 5% biodegradable detergent solution in warm water for at least 2 minutes.

· Dry: all gear and equipment to the touch then leave to dry for a further 48 hours before entering another fresh waterway.

Council’s ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ advocate Maia Ingoe says everyone needs to do their bit to look after our waterways.

“This means when we’re in and around water, stopping the spread of freshwater pests into Tairāwhiti and Wairoa by making sure we clean all of our gear. These pests can spread through as little as a single drop of water.

“We need to remove any obvious plant fragments, clean our gear to kill any lingering cells, and leave it to dry to ensure that we aren’t unwittingly carrying a stowaway pest.”

There are several freshwater pests to be aware of including didymo, an algae boom also known as ‘rock snot’ that forms a thick brown layer around rocks and is almost impossible to remove.

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Other freshwater pests largosiphon, a submerged oxygen weed and hornwort, a fast spreading and deep growing weed, also pose a threat to our waterways. Both grow fast and tall and can create blockages in waterways, reduce water quality, displace native plant species and stain the visual landscape.

“Weeds such as lagarosiphon and hornwort are widespread throughout North Island lakes, with lagarosiphon also found in Lake Waikareomoana. It’s crucial we keep them out of Tairāwhiti, as they could destroy our treasured waterways and limit our enjoyment of them,” Miss Ingoe said.

She will be visiting popular freshwater spots around Gisborne and Wairoa this summer, reminding people to check, clean and dry by handing out cleaning packs and spreading the word on freshwater pests.

If you suspect you’ve sighted didymo or other freshwater pests, contact Council’s biosecurity team or the Biosecurity New Zealands hotline 0800 80 99 66.

More information on freshwater pests can be found on our website.

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