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Lake Tutira algae bloom

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council staff advise the public to avoid contact with Lake Tūtira.

The Council sampled Lake Tūtira today, as part of regular monthly monitoring.

Freshwater scientist Dr Andy Hicks believes the current algal bloom is particularly nasty and conditions are not expected to improve anytime soon.

“The lake should start to ‘turn over’ or mix again in June as surface waters cool off and become the same density as the bottom waters,” says Dr Hicks.

“This will make conditions less favourable for blue-green algae and so the bloom will hopefully subside. The current bloom is potentially toxic, so contact with the water should be avoided,” he adds.

The Council proposes to increase funding next year (currently being consulted on as part of the Annual Plan 2017-18) to help clean up Lake Tūtira.

The lake requires a strategic catchment management plan to reduce nutrient and sediment inputs as much as practicable.

For the short term, the Council, Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust (MTT) and the Department of Conservation are exploring an aeration system in Lake Waikōpiro, which could then be scaled up to Tūtira, if successful.

“We are looking at cost-effective, short-term solutions with a high chance of success,” says Te Kaha Hawaikirangi, Project Coordinator at MTT for Tūtira Mai Nga Iwi.

“NIWA are facilitating workshops with our Hapū and we’re looking at a range of options to urgently improve the condition of the lake,” adds Mr Hawaikirangi.

Reducing runoff from the land will take some time to achieve, and will continue to be a major focus while the aeration approach is trialled.

The Council has also applied for significant funding through the national Freshwater Improvement Fund, which would help clean up Tūtira even faster. An indication of whether the national funding bid is successful should be known by July.

28 April 2017

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