Aim to lobby for weed control

Eradicating lagarosiphon from Lake Dunstan is not possible with existing levels of funding, a Land and Information New Zealand manager says.

But a new-look Guardians of Lake Dunstan group would aim to change that, and lobby for improved management of the pest weed, outgoing group chairman Glen Christiansen said.

A group of school pupils is also hoping to help in the fight.

Cromwell College pupils (from left) James Watson, Willie Williams, Dylan Jones and Clay Dawson ...
Cromwell College pupils (from left) James Watson, Willie Williams, Dylan Jones and Clay Dawson (all 12), examine lagarosiphon pulled from Lake Dunstan, near the Old Cromwell Historic Precinct. Photo: Supplied
Mr Christiansen has previously issued a ‘‘call to action’’ to Central Otago residents to get more support for the group and increase its profile.

He said this week he was heartened by the calibre of people who attended a special meeting of the group last week, and expected new membership and leadership would be announced soon.

He was also pleased to see several young people at the meeting.

They were ‘‘our future’’.

The group of Cromwell College pupils had made a video about their concerns, group member Clay Dawson said.

‘‘We want to add a younger voice to the issue.

‘‘We would like to have an active part in stopping pollution and removing lagarosiphon in Lake Dunstan.’’

Those at last week’s meeting criticised the level of funding given by agencies to lagarosiphon control in the lake.

Linz land and property group manager Jeremy Barr said lagarosiphon remained a ‘‘challenge to manage’’ and tools for managing it were ‘‘limited’’.

‘‘Eradicating lagarosiphon from Central Otago is not feasible with the current level of funding and control tools available.

‘‘We will continue to use the funding across the Central Otago lakes to best achieve the objectives of the three aquatic weed management plans,’’ he said.

Linz had $210,000 for lagarosiphon management in Lake Dunstan in the 2018-19 year — $125,000 from Linz, $60,000 from Contact Energy and $25,000 from the Otago Regional Council.

However, only $112,274 was spent, as conditions had not been suitable for using aquatic herbicide.

Mr Barr said under the regional council’s proposed pest management plan, the weed was to be ‘‘progressively contained’’ in Lake Wanaka and the Kawarau River, and ‘‘sustainably controlled’’ in Lake Dunstan.

Council biosecurity and biodiversity team leader Richard Lord said the council supported the Linz-led programme, but ‘‘the geography of these water bodies means that, until lagarosiphon is contained within Lake Wanaka and the Kawarau River, sustained control is the best use of resources for Lake Dunstan’’.

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