Your lakes need you

I’M NOT A RURAL LANDOWNER, BUT WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?

Our lakes are an important part of our culture and our identity as Kiwis. From a traditional Māori perspective, people are connected to water and to nature through whakapapa (our genealogy), mapping legend, history and knowledge from one generation to the next. Our lakes are for all to enjoy and be proud of, so cleaning them up will be a community effort.

There are a few things you can do to help:

At home or in the garden

  • Plant trees and ground cover (especially natives) on your property. They help prevent stormwater runoff and require less fertiliser.
  • Compost leaves and grass clippings.
  • Avoid commercial fertilisers on your lawn and gardens - try using your own compost.
  • Wash your car on your lawn. Soaps contain nutrients and pollutants, which are harmful to the lake and organisms living in it, so try and use phosphate-free soap.
  • Never dump waste into a street drain - storm sewers run directly into our streams and lakes.
  • Wetlands along lake inlets help filter out unwanted nutrients and pollutants, so reinstate existing wetlands on your property.
  • Look after your septic tank by conserving water, using eco-friendly soaps, fixing leaks, scheduling regular inspections and pumping the tank out regularly. Also try to avoid flushing non-biodegradable materials in your toilet.

Out and about

On a small farm or lifestyle block

  • Ask Bay of Plenty Regional Council for funding and advice to help you care for your soil and waterways
  • Fence streams and waterways to keep stock off stream banks and out of the water (a reticulated stock water supply provides better environmental care)
  • Plant along streams and waterways (ideally locally sourced native plants)
  • Avoid overgrazing steep slopes and pasture near waterways
  • Catch and control stock effluent to avoid losing nutrients and bacteria from the soil to groundwater
  • Avoid spraying chemicals near waterways
  • Apply fertiliser carefully, especially near waterways
  • Run a nutrient budget to avoid overuse of fertiliser
  • Make your drains and waterways more fish-friendly with a few simple modifications
  • Minimise use of tracks that damage riparian or wetland areas.

In need of funding assistance or further advice? Contact a Bay of Plenty Regional Council Land Management Officer on 07 921 3377.

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