Fencing around Lake Whangape
Image: DOC


Waikato agencies are working together to improve water quality at Lake Whangape and the natural habitats adjoining it.

Improving water quality and habitat together

Lake Whangape is the second largest lake in the lower Waikato River basin and was once a clear water source. Now, it’s a murky waterway with algal blooms and pest plant species.

A five-year restoration plan involving all the lake’s users – including the farming community – aims to make a difference by prioritising restoration activities. The project will be completed in 2023.

Lake Whangape and its immediate surroundings are immersed in a rich and deep historical narrative. The lake sustained many generations of Māori, who managed it carefully to ensure it maintained its reputation as a formidable food basket resource.

Sadly, more than 50 years of activity on surrounding land – and other factors – has led to degradation of the water. This has led to DOC, Waikato Regional Council and Waikato-Tainui taking a leadership role on a $2.9 million five-year restoration plan.

Restoring lake water quality will be long process because there are multiple issues to address. However, the partners are committed to working together and with the local community to address the environmental impacts.

What we're doing

  • Funding fencing to keep stock out.
  • Controlling alligator weed back down to containment levels.
  • Revegetating the lake’s shoreline with more than 53,000 plants at a number of sites
  • Implementing more than eight nutrient mitigation projects.
  • Developing a kaitiaki monitoring framework.
  • Implementing cultural monitoring.

Funding for fencing

Proper fencing to exclude stock around the lake margins is fundamental to the protection and restoration of Lake Whangape. Funding towards new or upgraded fencing (in identified areas) is available for adjacent landowners. 

Typically, the restoration project contributes 50% of the cost of effective “minimum standard” fencing.

Additional funding may be available  when setbacks considered greater than normal or protection of native remnants are negotiated.

DOC is keen to discuss these options and opportunities with landowners. Contact the Waikato District Office.

Partners in the project

The project is a partnership between DOC, Lake Whangape catchment landowners, Waikato Regional Council and Waikato-Tainui through Nga Muka Development Trust and Waahi Whaanui Trust.

Funding support

The project has financial support from Waikato River Authority and the Ministry for the Environment through the Government’s Freshwater Improvement Fund.

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