Freshwater pests in the Otago Region include waterweeds like lagarosiphon, pest fish, and invasive alga like didymo, lindavia (lake snow) and cyanobacteria. These introduced species cause enormous damage to our unique freshwater habitats and diminish our recreational opportunities.
Aquatic weeds can also have adverse economic impacts including clogging dams and drains, and reducing suitable habitat for eel and whitebait. Once freshwater pests become established, they are difficult and costly to control. If we can prevent them getting into our waterways in the first place we have a better chance at stopping their spread.
One of the most visible and well knows pest plants in Lake Wānaka is Lagarosiphon.
Lagarosiphon and other invasive weeds have had a devastating impact on our lakes and how we can use them. These weeds are primarily spread by human activities, such as accidental transfer through boating and fishing gear contaminated with plant fragments. Pieces of plant as small as 1 cm have the potential to start a new infestation. Lagarosiphon has been managed in Lake Wanaka since 1974 to help protect the lake and other pristine and iconic lakes in the Otago region.
You can help stop the spread
Protect our waters from freshwater pests.
- Drainage and machinery contractor – ensure any weed is removed from machinery before moving to other water-bodies and waterways.
- Fisherman or eeler – remove all fragments of weed from nets, fishing equipment and waders before you leave the area. Salt bath and/or bleach fishing nets.
- Boat operator – check boats, motors, trailers and anchor lockers for tag-along weeds immediately on removal of equipment from the water.
- Aquarium owner – don’t dispose of aquarium contents into or near a waterway.
- Tramper and hunter – check dogs, boots and boats for weed before you leave the area.
- Landowner – don’t allow drainage equipment, eel nets or boats into water bodies on your property unless they are free of weeds.