Te Kakano Trust wins $350,000 for Lake Wanaka community management plan

Megan Williams is delighted Te Kakano Trust has secured funding to study Lake Wanaka.
MARJORIE COOK

Megan Williams is delighted Te Kakano Trust has secured funding to study Lake Wanaka.

Wanaka's Te Kakano Aotearoa Trust has won $375,000 from the Government's new $100 million Freshwater Improvement Fund to prepare a Lake Wanaka community catchment plan, Minister for the Environment Nick Smith announced on August 8. 

Te Kakano's community liaison and development officer Megan Williams was delighted but could not release project details yet.

"It is promising that we are mentioned in the media release today, however we are still negotiating with MfE and will know for certain in approximately one month," Williams said.

Wanaka's community harbours deep concerns about lake water quality following years of complaints about filter-clogging ...
MARJORIE COOK

Wanaka's community harbours deep concerns about lake water quality following years of complaints about filter-clogging algae now called "lake snot'' or "lake snow''.

Te Kakano's project grant is for five years and was the only successful bid from Otago.

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Te Kakano's project overview, released by the Ministry for the Environment, is to develop a community management plan for Lake Wanaka "to ensure the lake is clean and accessible for future generations".  

"There are particular concerns about lake snow in lakes Wanaka and Hawea and the potential linkages with nutrient run-off and land use change. The project is a partnership with the regional and district council and is subject to further negotiation on the details of the work programme," the overview says.

The first tranche of grants totals $44 million and went to 33 projects. More funding rounds will follow at a later date.

Smith said the Government had an ambitious plan to improve water quality in rivers and lakes "that involves stronger direction to councils, tighter regulation and funding to support projects".

With contributions from local authorities and other organisations, $142m would be invested in over 100 lakes and rivers, Smith said.

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Four large South Island water bodies will benefit to the tune of $15,043,586: Lake Wanaka ($350,000), the Te Waituna Lagoon in Southland ($5 million), the Selwyn River in Canterbury ($2.69 million) and the Waimea River in Tasman ($7 million). The total investment in the South Island is $15,588,53.*

Six more large water bodies are among many North Island projects sharing in $27,812,515: the Wairoa River in Northland, Lake Whangape in the Waikato, Lake Tarawera in the Bay of Plenty, the Manawatu River and Lake Horowhenua in Manawatu-Whanganui and Lake Onoke in Wellington. *

"The priority for this $44m investment has been projects that will contribute towards the Government's goals of improving the swimmability and ecological health of waterways. It will fund the fencing of waterways from farm animals, planting along streams, development of wetlands, sewage reticulation and water storage to increase minimum flows. There are also initiatives in the package to eradicate water weeds, remove pest fish and to retire marginal land adjacent to waterways," Smith said.

The Government announced earlier this year a target to make 90 per cent of lakes and rivers swimmable by 2040.

It has previously committed  $360m to various fresh water initiatives, bringing total investment in freshwater quality to over $400m.

"We are river by river, lake by lake, improving freshwater quality so New Zealanders can better enjoy our great outdoors," Smith said.

OTHER WANAKA WATER/LAKE SNOW PROJECTS

Two other Wanaka-based applicants unsuccessfully applied for grants from the Freshwater Improvement Fund. They were the Touchstone Trust and independent aquatic scientist Laurel Teirney.

​In 2016 the Otago Regional Council provided $30,000 to Landcare Research's study on the genetics of lake snow. The regional council has now spent at least $112,000 on lake snow management studies.

In March, Otago University scientists Dr Marc Schallenberg and Dr Travis Ingram won a $27,000 University of Otago research committee grant for a year-long project on lake snow.

Schallenberg and other scientists also applied to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Endeavour Fund for about $8 million for a collaborative project on the "Twelve Southern Great Lakes" from Lake Poteriteri in Fiordland to Lake Coleridge in Canterbury.

It was rejected in June. That research would have focused on Lakes Wanaka and Wakatipu, providing base line data and context around the health of the other lakes.

Touchstone Trust has received about $18,000 from MBIE's Unlocking Curious Minds Fund and the Sargood Bequest to fund citizen science projects by Wanaka schools and the Wanaka Lake Swimmers Club.

* Figures in these two paragraphs have been corrected. 

 - Stuff

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