Monitoring water quality
Environment Canterbury gave an overview of the water quality of Lake Middleton. Its science team summarised that recreational water quality has improved since 2011/12 and monitoring over summer showed it was generally safe for swimming.
A key focus for ongoing lake health will be continuing to manage levels of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus entering the lake, as this can impact the growth and profusion of aquatic weeds and algae.
Environment Canterbury’s monitoring showed a decline in native aquatic plants and an increase in exotic species like oxygen weed, which poses a risk to the ecological health to the lake. The lake’s ecological condition will continue to be closely monitored.
Members of the public can help by checking they are not introducing and exotic plants or animals into the lake and ensuring they are not disturbing native vegetation.
In addition, new farming regulations for sensitive lake catchments across Canterbury are now in place and are expected to help with managing nutrient levels.
Read the reports:
Protecting rare native birds
The Ōhau Conservation Trust talked about its work and plans to enhance Lake Middleton and protect rare birds. Viv Smith-Campbell, Chairperson of the Trust, said in a report for the event that the lake “is a little treasure that is just a bit unloved at present.”
“We have a project about Middleton in our Strategic Plan that you can find on our website. We'd love to see a formed walkway around the lake and riparian enhancement such as planting, removal or thinning of willows and pine trees and making sure that activities in the reserve and surrounding land are not impacting on water quality.”
“The lake’s rich wildlife population also needs consideration - we've had grebes breed and raise chicks three times in the last two years - after many years of no success at all. All with some small floating nesting rafts. It’s great that something so simple is so successful.”