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Travel Clean And Pest Free When Enjoying Our Waterways This Summer

The Marlborough region contains numerous rivers, streams and back-country lakes we enjoy when getting out and about, particularly over summer.

Check, Clean, Dry Programme Manager for the Top of the South, Elaine Asquith, says it’s fortunate that we can enjoy these beautiful locations year-round.

“When visiting these places or any new water body, it’s important to show due care and respect to ensure we neither introduce a new hitch-hiking pest, nor take away one to share elsewhere.

“We’re asking anyone coming into contact with freshwater or moving between waterways, whether fishing, boating, tramping, swimming, biking or driving to be extra vigilant about cleaning their gear.

“Didymo was the big name a few years back that inspired us all to ‘Check, Clean Dry’. It‘s still a factor but it goes well beyond just didymo. We need to look after our waterways every time we have an adventure, so that in 50 years’ time we can still enjoy them. There are plenty of invasive pest weeds, algae and other nasties that could take over our beautiful places, if we accidentally introduce them.”

Invasive freshwater weeds such as lagarosiphon, egeria and elodea, or pest fish like rudd or gambusia, or microscopic algae such as didymo and lindavia (lake snow) can be spread by a single plant fragment, fish egg or drop of water. They can hitch a ride on trailers and watercraft as well as the fishing gear, clothing and boots of unknowing trampers, and become established in new lakes.

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A number of local waterways - including Spring Creek, the Taylor River, the lower Opaoa and lower Wairau - already have aquatic weeds such as lagarosiphon, egeria and yellow flag iris.

It’s easy to stop them hitching a ride, Elaine said.

“Checking, cleaning and drying your gear is all you need to make sure you look after both your favourite local place and other pristine waterways further afield.”

For more information on how to Check Clean Dry for your activity, take a look at the extensive range of resources at www.mpi.govt.nz/outdoor-activities/boating-and-watersports-tips-to-prevent-spread-of-pests/check-clean-dry/

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