Eradicating the lake weed egeria from Lake Taupo is not possible, but efforts will continue to control its spread and raise public awareness, this week’s Environment Waikato Biosecurity Committee heard.
The previously unreported exotic weed was found after surveys in the lake at various sites around the lake early last year and several workshops have been held to work out ways to control it. A variety of control methods were being examined to deal with the infestation.
Its spread could be minimised by ensuring fragments were not transported by boats, trailers, fishing gear and recreational equipment, and signs were being erected to provide information and make lake users aware of the risk of weed transfer.
Last month’s workshop agreed that signs needed to be provided at every boat ramp around the lake. Wash down facilities also needed to be looked into as a long term preventative option.
The Department of Internal Affairs had put off using a weed harvester this year because of less than expected growth. In Taupo boat harbour the majority of aquatic weed was from other species. Kinloch marina had an ongoing harvesting system, but had greater potential to be a source of contamination as it was next to the lake.
Conditions were very different in the two harbours and might require different systems of control. Using volunteer divers in the Taupo boat harbour was no longer feasible because of OSH issues.
Chairman Neil Clarke said the Council was not turning its back on the problem and was trying to find creative ways of dealing with it. Some progress had already been made.
“Many of these things are very difficult and it is too easy to give up. We know that the problems are going to be more testing in the future but we have got to try and be vigilant. We can’t afford to get into a position where we say there is nothing we can do.”
Cr David Peart said the Council needed to be able to take the community along with it and needed to believe it was making a difference.
“A lot of urban people don’t see these issues as affecting their economic well being. They will always blame other people unless you can show it is good for the environment, which they do care about, or directly affects them.”