Plenty happening at Tūtira

There has been plenty happening at Tūtira this winter as part of a project aimed at improving the water quality and ecological habitat in Lakes Waikōpiro and Tūtira.

 There has been plenty happening at Tūtira this winter as part of a project aimed at improving the water quality and ecological habitat in Lakes Waikōpiro and Tūtira.

Project Te Waiū o Tūtira (the milk of Tūtira) is a partnership between Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, the Ministry for the Environment and Tūtira local residents.  In April, the project received a $1.5 million financial boost from the Ministry for the Environment’s Freshwater Improvement Fund. Since then a number of initiatives have been undertaken.

Jetty on Lake Orakai

A floating jetty has been created on Lake Orakai to allow Hawke’s Bay Regional Council staff to safely take water samples from the middle of the lake. Samples need to be taken as close to the centre of the lake as possible. The new floating jetty means one rather than two staff members can do this without any set up or pack up time. The water samples help Council staff to better understand the lake’s water quality and make informed decisions on improving the entire catchment.

Community Workshop

More than 20 people attended a Tūtira Community Workshop at Tūtira School late last month. The purpose of the meeting was to provide a brief update on the Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi and Te Waiū o Tūtira Projects, and discuss an integrated plan for the future management of the Lake Tūtira Catchment. The meeting discussed a joint vision and desired outcomes for the catchment.

Year Two works underway

Year Two of the Te Waiū o Tūtira project officially kicked off at the beginning of July, wrapping up a short year one of the project spanning only four months. Year Two lays the foundation for some exciting plans including the creation of sediment traps for the Te Whatu whewhe and Kahikanui catchments. There will also be ongoing community engagement through the creation of an Integrated Management Plan and Farm Management Plans for landowners. Discussions are continuing with northern landowners around the aspiration of reconnecting the Papakiri Stream to Lake Tūtira.   

Sediment Traps

The Kahikanui and Te Whatu Whewhe sub-catchments are identified as critical sediment source areas within the Lake Tūtira catchment. In addition, forestry within these catchments is earmarked for harvest in the next 3-4 years. The sediment traps will provide a higher level of sediment control, reducing the risk of sediment potentially entering the lake. The majority of the work required for the sediment traps will be undertaken this summer.   

Lake Waikōpiro Air Curtain

An air curtain installed in Lake Waikōpiro last year has been turned back on in preparation for the warmer summer months ahead.

The air curtain pumps pressurised air through a 50-metre pipe tethered close to the bottom of lake and across the deepest part, creating an air curtain. It increases oxygen levels at all depths throughout the lake by creating a circulation current, much like bubblers in a fish aquarium. A lack of oxygen and the lake water heating up in hotter months has been a major factor causing algal blooms and the death of fish in summer.

Lake Tūtira project name: Te Waiū o Tūtira (the milk of Tūtira) – the total project cost is $3.5 million over five years.