Levels of suspended sediment in Lake Waikare are high. Sediment enters the lake from the adjoining land and rivers, and is stirred up by wind and wave action and koi carp. In the wetland, sediment comes from a number of sources, including from Lake Waikare, the Maramarua River and adjacent land.
A 2012 report gave catchment management with farm-scale actions the top-ranked mitigation option. As a result, in 2015 Waikato Regional Council committed to developing a catchment management plan (CMP) to best address sediment sources impacting on the wetland, as well as the wider range of issues in the catchment, including the lake’s water quality and biodiversity.
Wetlands and riverine lakes, as Lake Waikare can be classified, contain a diverse range of plants and animals and are home to many rare and threatened species. They are some of our rarest and most at-risk ecosystems.
Some of the (threatened) species commonly found include the Australasian bittern, banded rail, grey duck, grey teal, marsh crake, New Zealand dabchick, New Zealand shoveler and spotless crake. Brown teal were once present, but are now believed to be regionally extinct.
Many birds move between lakes and wetlands as food and nesting requirements change with seasonal variations in water levels. The large lakes are especially important as a refuge for moulting birds that are growing new flight feathers.
Native fish found in the lakes include common smelt, grey mullet, whitebait and longfinned and shortfinned eel. The majority of these species move between the swamps, lakes, river and the sea, depending on their particular life cycles.
PURPOSE: Conserve, enhance and, where appropriate, restore the river, land and wetland environment through effective land, water and resource planning across the Lake Waikare and Whangamarino wetland catchment, through a coordinated, collaborative approach.
This Lake Waikare and Whangamarino Wetland Catchment Management Plan (CMP) forms part of a broader lower Waikato zone management planning and implementation work programme.
The CMP is developed to help address issues and opportunities identified within the Lake Waikare and Whangamarino wetland catchment, and provides a framework to guide future work programmes of all those involved with the catchment’s management and development. The CMP will also assist in obtaining resourcing and funding to deliver specific actions and recommendations outlined in the action plan.
A number of key documents have helped to frame the collaborative catchment management plan approach, the most important of which is Te Ture Whaimana o te Awa o Waikato – The Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River.
Waikato Regional Council worked with a group of key stakeholders, the majority of which are represented by the CMP Leadership Partners Group, to better understand the goals and aspirations people have for Lake Waikare and the Whangamarino Wetland.
The group included Lower Waikato Catchment Committee representatives, Department of Conservation, Auckland/Waikato Fish & Game Council, the farmer-led Primary Stakeholders Catchment Trust, Waikato District Council and Watercare Services. Understanding the work that’s already being done in the sub-catchments was also an important part of the process to help improve the health of these natural assets.
The key stakeholders worked jointly with Waikato Regional Council to develop the catchment management plan, which was drafted under the direction of an independent project manager. Feedback was also provided by the wider community through a Community Open Day (held in Te Kauwhata in November 2017), and further feedback was provided by the community on the final draft through an online survey or similar.