Status report on Lake Horowhenua health now available

A report card on the health status of Lake Horowhenua is now available on the Lake Horowhenua Trust and Horizons Regional Council’s website. 

Horizons natural resources and partnerships group manager Dr Jon Roygard says one of the key purposes of the report card is to provide a snapshot to the community of Lake Horowhenua as it currently stands.

 “The report card covers the ecosystem health, how the Lake health affects recreational activities, where it sits on the trophic level index, its pre-European history, and key actions that have been completed since the signing of the Lake Horowhenua Accord (He Hokioi Rerengatahi) in 2013.

“This means there is a clear stake in the ground to reflect on as we move forward and make progress,” he says.
Horowhenua Lake Accord chairperson, and chair of the Lake Horowhenua Trustees, Matt Sword explains further that the report card is one of the outputs for the project, Te Kakapa Manawa o Muaūpoko - The heart beat of Muaūpoko.

“This report card is one of 13 projects being undertaken as part of Te Kakapa Manawa o Muaūpoko which is funded through the Ministry for the Environment’s Te Mana o te Wai Fund.  It has a total budget of $1,161,961 with a contribution from central government of $971,660, investment by the Lake Trust and funding and technical support from both Horizons and Horowhenua District Council.”

“The Lake Report Card will be updated annually to indicate what progress we are making against key indicators of Lake health.”

Te Kakapa Manawa o Muaūpoko follows on from a substantial amount of work undertaken to improve the Lake’s health through central government’s Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean-up Fund.

In recent months there has been further funding awarded to the efforts to improve the Lake through the Freshwater Improvement Fund which is programmed to start in 2018 and led by Muaūpoko.

“Not only is the ongoing central government commitment appreciated, but also the commitment from the local community who have helped with a number of planting days. This has allowed them to be directly involved in the restoration actions for the Lake,” says Mr Sword.

The Lake Horowhenua Accord Action Plan outlines a suite of key interventions which aims to improve the suitability of the Lake for recreational activities, reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the Lake from rural and urban sources, as well as to increase native fish populations by improving habitat and access to and from the Lake.

“A major project to limit the amount of nutrients entering the Lake has been the Arawhata sediment trap, which has recently been completed,” says Dr Roygard.

“The sediment trap is estimated to reduce the annual load of sediment input to Lake Horowhenua via streams by approximately 25 per cent and the annual load of phosphorus by 30 per cent. Another major intervention to improve the Lake’s suitability for recreation is the lake weed harvesting project, which is planned to start in 2018 following the High Court’s decision to allow the harvesting operation to go ahead.”

“Now that the report card exists we will be able to show the community the progress that is being made to the Lake’s health.”

The Lake Horowhenua report card can be found here.