Fencing around Lake Whangape

Image: DOC

Introduction

Waikato agencies are working together to improve water quality at Lake Whangape and the natural habitats that adjoin 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 a pest plant with bite.

A restoration plan involving all the lake’s users – including the farming community – aims to make a difference by prioritising restoration activities.

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 degradation has resulted in the lake becoming a mere glimpse of its former glory days. This has led to DOC, Waikato Regional Council and Waikato-Tainui taking a leadership role on a $2.9 million five-year restoration plan.

It is going to be long process because there are multiple issues to address. But all of the partners are committed to working together and with the local community to address the environmental impacts.

What we intend to do

  • Fund fencing to keep stock out.
  • Control alligator weed back down to containment levels.
  • Revegetate the lake’s shoreline.
  • Implement eight nutrient mitigation projects.
  • Develop a kaitiaki monitoring framework.
  • Implement 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 would contribute 50% of the cost of effective “minimum standard” fencing. (As proposed by Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Waikato Regional Plan Change 1. Different requirements have been proposed by the Ministry for the Environment through the Essential Freshwater package, but these have not been confirmed.)

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

DOC is keen to discuss these options and opportunities with landowners. Contact:

  • Garry Hickman +64 27 294 1156, or 
  • Ray Scrimgeour +64 27 292 9032

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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