ORC $wimming in it —SHOULD afford more Otago environmental protection

….not a new office palace at Dunedin.

Spending figures on flood protection and river management, particularly on the Leith and Taieri systems, and public transport, are heavily weighted towards Dunedin.

### ODT Online Mon, 9 Jan 2017
‘Dunedin-centric’ ORC gets roasting
By David Williams
Michael Laws’ already poor appraisal of the Otago Regional Council just gets worse. Official council figures provided to the Otago Daily Times detail the council’s $56million in reserves, its plans for spending up to $24million on a new Dunedin headquarters and a breakdown of spending in the Queenstown Lakes, which is affected by lake snow. Mr Laws, who was elected to the council’s Dunstan ward in October, said: “It’s worse than we thought, to a degree. They’ve got a huge amount of money and they spend very little.”
….He accused the council of having a very hands-off policy towards Dunstan issues and particularly Queenstown and the lakes over the past five years. “It’s withdrawn staff from the area, it’s not monitored the lakes which is its basic statutory responsibility, it’s spent very little money dealing with pests, whether flora or fauna, and I think personally that the reason in large part is if you don’t live in an area you don’t properly understand it.”
Read more


L A K E ● S N O W

The alga called Cyclotella, or recently renamed by algologists as Lindavia intermedia, is related to the ‘rock snot’ alga didymo. The recent appearance of lake snot is associated with the emergence and dominance in Cyclotella, according to a team of scientists from the University of Otago, Landcare Research and Université Laval (Canada).
–Erica Mather, Sciblogs: Southern NZ lakes congested with algal snot

lake-snow-stuff-co-nzLake Snow [stuff.co.nz]

ORC – Lake Snow
In recent years, a slimy substance called ‘lake snow’ has been found in Lake Wanaka, Wakatipu and Hawea. Otago Regional Council (ORC) is working with stakeholders and researchers to find out more about where lake snow comes from, what influences it, and how it could be managed. Read more

Lake snow brochure (PDF, 1 MB)

QLDC – Lake Algae
For a number of years the Lake Wanaka water supply has been affected by the presence of algae. The algae is not harmful from a health perspective, but has had an effect water filters, irrigation fittings, new appliances and other equipment. The algae is not noticed at all the properties in Wanaka and no pattern has been found. In mid-2016 QLDC began receiving reports of algae build-ups in a number of water filters around Queenstown that take water from Lake Wakatipu. It has been identified as the same algae that has affected the water system in Wanaka for the past eight years or so.
Identifying and managing lake algae

In 2004 Didymosphenia geminata, a diatom commonly known as didymo or rock snot, was discovered in New Zealand, the first time it was found in the Southern Hemisphere. To restrict its spread, the whole of the South Island of New Zealand was declared a controlled area in December 2005. All items, such as boats, fishing gear, clothing, and vehicles, that have been in a stream, river or lake, must be cleaned before they enter another waterway.
Wikipedia: Didymo in New Zealand


### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 12:14, Sep 1 2016
Fears lake snow could make Lake Wakatipu ‘unfishable’
By Jo McKenzie-McLean
An experienced fishing guide fears Lake Wakatipu could end up “unfishable” with the invasive spread of the algae bloom, lake snow, and warns Lake Dunstan could be next. Queenstown fishing guide Stu Dever, armed with his rod and reel, voiced his concerns about the presence of lake snow in Lake Wakatipu to Otago Fish and Game committee members at a meeting in Cromwell last month. His rod was clogged with the thick globules of algae after only one day’s fishing on the lake … The mucous-like substance is produced by the algae cyclotella has now been observed in three South Island lakes.
Read more

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 12:49, Nov 4 2016
Lake snow discovered in Hawea as algae spreads through southern lakes
The nuisance algae known as lake snow has been confirmed in Lake Hawea as it continues to spread through the southern lakes. Officially known as Cyclotella bodanica, it has been present in Lake Wanaka for several years and has this year been confirmed in Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown. It has also been found in Lake Coleridge in Canterbury. It does not present a health risk but can block water filters on commercial premises and residential appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.
Read more 

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 11:13, Dec 19 2016
Laws calls for Otago Regional Council to apologise over Lake Snow ‘inaction’
By Jo McKenzie-McLean
The Otago Regional Council needs to “apologise and atone” for its “grossly inadequate” action over the Lake Snow problem in the alpine lakes, newly-elected Otago regional councillor Michael Laws says. “Lake snow was notified to the Otago Regional Council in 2008. It did nothing until September 2016, and in that time the algae and its effects have taken a firm grip on Lake Wanaka and now spread to other lakes. As with the invasive weed lagorosiphon [oxygen weed], the ORC’s inertia on lake snow stands as an object lesson of what can go wrong when you react, and react late, rather than research. There are some massive lessons for our governance here. We dropped the ball big time and need to accept, apologise and atone.” Cr Laws said there needed to be a significant financial investment in the southern lakes and that any delay would only make the problems less manageable and more expensive. “The Otago Regional Council has no debt, and $56 million in reserves. It wants to spend $25 million on a new HQ in Dunedin. I say those priorities are dead wrong: The lakes and our waterways – along with pest destruction – must be our prime responsibilities.”
Read more


Dr Schallenberg and other scientists have been frustrated by rejected funding applications on research into lake snow, and the Otago Regional Council only stepped up monitoring last year, although it has paid for some research on Lake Wanaka’s health.

### ODT Online Sat, 7 Jan 2017
Editorial: The lake snow threat
It is past time to drive action on “lake snow” (“lake snot”). The slime produced by an  algae in Lake Wanaka — it is also in Lake Coleridge and was found last year in Lakes Hawea and Wakatipu — is unsightly and a significant nuisance. More importantly, it could have long-term and unknown ecological impacts.
….It was first noticed in Lake Wanaka about 2004 as those fishing spoke of fouled lines and blocked engine intakes. Washing machine and other filters in Wanaka began to become clogged because the town water supply comes from the lake. […] The same algae had also been found in another relatively unpolluted lake in Seattle in the United States. Just like didymo (“rock snot”), under certain conditions cyclotella secretes large amounts of mucus. This can all join together to form a mat. Just why it appears is still a mystery.
Read more

### ODT Online Sat, 7 Jan 2017
Lake snot costs hit six figures
By Guy Williams
Queenstown hotels are being forced to install expensive filtration systems to prevent lake snot (also called lake snow) damaging or blocking their water systems. Sofitel Queenstown Hotel manager Vincent Macquet said a self-cleaning filter identical to one operating at Dunedin Hospital was installed at the hotel five weeks ago at a cost of “hundreds of thousands” of dollars. Lake snot began clogging its water system last winter, causing hot-water valves to fail and reducing water pressure. […] Macquet said it was a “touchy subject” with hoteliers, with representatives from seven hotels meeting Queenstown Lakes District Council staff about a month ago to express their concerns.
Read more

didymo-hawea-landcareresearch-co-nzDidymo, Hawea [landcareresearch.co.nz]

Didymo (aka rock snot) [jrn.com via knownews.com]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.



Filed under Architecture, Business, Central Otago, Construction, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Geography, Infrastructure, Media, OAG, Ombudsman, ORC, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Queenstown Lakes, Resource management, Tourism, University of Otago, What stadium

6 responses to “ORC $wimming in it —SHOULD afford more Otago environmental protection

  1. Elizabeth

    Tue, 10 Jan 2017
    ODT: Sweet for swimming, but mind the lakeweed
    The head of Lake Dunstan had not quite warmed enough to lure swimmers when this aerial was taken late last year, but holidaymakers have since flocked to enjoy the lake’s blue waters in the usual summer fashion. Cont/

    ● See photo by Stephen Jaquiery showing dark green lakeweed.

  2. Elizabeth

    Wed, 11 Jan 2017
    Toxic algae found in Lake Waihola
    Warnings have been issued following the discovery of a toxic algal bloom in Lake Waihola, three years after it last posed problems. The Otago Regional Council said sampling had shown high concentrations of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) at the lake, and a health warning had been issued. Visitors were advised not to use it for recreational purposes, and dog owners should not let their pets swim in the lake until the warning has been lifted. Cont/

  3. Elizabeth

    ODT 17.1.17 (page 6)


  4. Elizabeth

    Workshops resulted in too much discussion behind closed doors and he believed in “open, democratic local government”. –Michael Laws

    Mon, 23 Jan 2017
    ODT: Laws wants more ORC openness
    The Otago Regional Council and its ratepayers would benefit from a more open approach, particularly to council workshops, Cr Michael Laws says.
    ….[Michael Laws in an email to council chief executive Peter Bodeker and fellow councillors-elect via a LGOIMA request by ODT] “I have opposed informal meetings for all my 30 years of public life, unless they are social occasions designed to introduce colleagues and their partners on a personal level,” Cr Laws wrote. “Informal meetings have an unfortunate tendency to decide policy and council decisions away from the appropriate public scrutiny … “I had hoped not to introduce myself to you in any other than convivial way, but I did stand with the public and declared policy of making the ORC a more transparent, accountable and proactive organisation,” he said. Cont/

  5. Elizabeth

    Tue, 31 Jan 2017
    ODT: Toxic algae at Albert Town Lagoon
    Suspected blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) has been sighted in the Albert Town lagoon. The Otago Regional Council are now testing samples of the toxic algae found at the lagoon, with results expected by Thursday. Visitors are advised not to use the area for recreational purposes, and to observe the warning signs, while dog owners are also being warned to avoid allowing their pets to swim or go near the water. Cont/

    █ Anyone experiencing health symptoms after contact with contaminated water should visit their doctor and also contact Public Health South on (03) 476 9800. 

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