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Lake Brunner

Lake Brunner is a large (41 km2), deep lake (max. depth 109 m), inland from Greymouth on the West Coast. It has high water quality and is a popular recreational destination for people within and beyond the region. It is likely that intensive agriculture in the catchment has led to nutrient increases, which have been observed following the initiation of monitoring in the early 1990’s.

Lake Brunner is the largest lake on the West Coast of the South Island. The West Coast Regional Council has two monitoring sites on the lake for collecting water quality data, and an additional three summer sites for monitoring swimming suitability. Lake Brunner currently remains in an oligotrophic (low nutrient) state, safe for swimming and other recreational activities. Since 1992, there have been deteriorating trends for a number of water quality attributes, like nutrients and clarity. Many of these trends are no longer apparent when viewed over the last ten years, except for nitrogen. . From 2001 to 2014, only nitrate and total nitrogen increased significantly in the lake, and this was also observed in some of the lakes tributaries. . Increasing nitrate is a result of increased agricultural intensity within the catchment. Dissolved nitrogen is easily leached and nitrogen from all sources will leach in abundance given the catchment’s wet climate. It should be noted that Lake Brunner is phosphorus limited so an increase in nitrate is unlikely to affect lake biology without an accompanying increase in phosphorus. Water quality in Cashmere Bay is poorer than water in the main lake. Nitrate has increased (deteriorated) in Cashmere Bay but clarity has improved. Despite long periods of low oxygen at the bottom of Cashmere Bay, phosphorus and subsequent algal blooms have not been observed.

Lake Summary
  • Lake size
  • Maximum depth
  • Catchment size
  • Mixing pattern
  • Geomorphic type
Scientific data for this lake

This dashboard shows information on the data collected by the regional councils for two lake water quality and ecological condition measurements. Lake SPI (Lake Submerged Plant Indicators) and TLI (Trophic Level Index):

  • Water Quality

    Trophic Level Index (TLI)

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    This measure is the Trophic Level Index (TLI). The TLI indicates the life supporting capacity of a lake and is based on four water quality indicators.

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    Trophic Level Index (TLI) history for this lake

    Trophic Level Indicator (TLI) which measures four parameters: water clarity, chlorophyll content, total phosphorus and total nitrogen. From these parameters a TLI value is calculated. In cases where water clarity data is missing a three parameter TLI is calculated. The higher the value, the greater the nutrients and fertility of the water which encourages growth, including algal blooms. As a rule, higher TLI scores mean poorer water quality. View a factsheet on TLI

    TLI history for Lake Brunner
    TLI history for Lake Brunner data table
    Year TLI Score
    Year TLI Score

    What do the icons mean?

    Very good water quality. Trophic Level Index of 0-2. Microtrophic lake conditions.
    Good water quality. Trophic Level Index of 2-3. Oligotrophic lake conditions.
    Average water quality. Trophic Level Index of 3-4. Mesotrophic lake conditions.
    Poor water quality. Trophic Level Index of 4-5. Eutrophic lake conditions.
    Very poor water quality. Trophic Level Index of greater than 5. Supertrophic lake conditions.
    No data available.
  • Ecological Conditions

    Submerged Plant Indicators (SPI)

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    The LakeSPI status describes the ecological condition of the lake and is based on plants present.

    LakeSPI data provided by NIWA

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    LakeSPI history for this lake

    LakeSPI (Lake Submerged Plant Indicators) is a method of characterising the ecological condition of lakes based on the composition of native and invasive plants growing in them. A higher LakeSPI percentage result is associated with better ecological health:

    LakeSPI N/A
    LakeSPI {{spiData.details.Value}}%

    The overall LakeSPI score is calculated using a Native Condition Index ('good' plants) and an Invasive Impact Index (introduced, non-native plants):

    Native Condition N/A
    Native Condition {{spiData.details.NativeIndex}}%
    Invasive Impact N/A
    Invasive Impact {{spiData.details.InvasiveIndex}}%

    A higher Native Condition percentage is also good, but a higher Invasive Impact percentage is bad. View a factsheet on SPI

    • SPI %
    • Native Condition %
    • Invasive Impact %
    LakeSPI history for Lake Brunner
    LakeSPI history for Lake Brunner data table
    Sample Date Status LakeSPI % Native Condition Index % Invasive Impact Index %
    LakeSPI information has been provided by NIWA.

    What do the icons mean?

    Excellent ecological health. A LakeSPI score of 75-100%.
    High ecological health. A LakeSPI score of 50-75%.
    Moderate ecological health. A LakeSPI score of 20-50%.
    Poor ecological health. A LakeSPI score of 0-20%.
    Non-vegetated. A LakeSPI score of 0% (there are no plants present).
    No data available.

Monitored sites on Lake Brunner

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