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Annual Plan 2017-18 Six Hotspots

Six Environmental Hot Spots: Let’s Clean Up

Lake Tutira
Ahuriri Estuary
Whakaki Lake & Wairoa River
Whatuma and the Tukituki Catchment
Karamu Stream
Marine Environment 

LAKE TŪTIRA - a clean and healthy lake

Check out our more detailed publication about Lake Tutira here

Tūtira and Waikopiro lakes have long been popular for recreation and fishing.  The lakes are central to many recreational and environmental opportunities in the area.

What do we want to fix?


The lakes have been by affected poor water quality and algal blooms for decades - the first algal bloom was recorded in 1957.  This is not an overnight problem, and there’s no single cause. Rain washes soil and nutrients from fertiliser into the lake from the surrounding landscape, plus a ‘legacy load’, a build up over decades, of soil and fertiliser nutrients sits in the lake bed - both these reduce water quality and feed algal blooms. 

What do we want to do? 

We want to develop a comprehensive action plan to restore the lake and prevent future contamination from the wider landscape so families can once again enjoy the lake.

Over the years, there have been many actions to improve the lake such as tree planting and creating more wetland areas . HBRC bought the regional park to manage it as a soil conservation area. 

HBRC has done a lot of science investigations in recent years to find out how this complex lake works and to find long term solutions.

A long term action plan working with Maungaharuru Tangitū Trust, landowners and the local community will aim to reconnect Papakiri Stream’s clean flows (while stopping the muddy storm flows), add more lake edge and wetland planting, and consider aeration(water bubbling) technology to stop algal blooms. Careful land use planning can also assist.

AHURIRI ESTUARY - A healthier estuary for fish, birds and people

Check out our more detailed publication about the Ahuriri Estuary here

Ahuriri Estuary is national treasure -  home to native and migratory birds and a nursery for ocean going fish and a popular recreation area.   The TANK Interim Agreement recognises the Ahuriri Estuary as a site of ecological, cultural and recreational significance, and recommends all reasonable measures to be undertaken to support these uses and values.

What do want to fix?

Fresh water flowing into the estuary brings sediment with it from surrounding land but this impacts the fish habitats.


Nearby urban and industrial areas mean contaminants come through untreated stormwater drains directly into the estuary. There is a build up of chemicals stored in the estuary muds from decades of industrial contamination and there can still be occasional sewage or chemical spills impacting the estuary.  Shellfish gathering in the estuary is regularly banned because of contamination.  

Accidental oil spills from boats in the Inner Harbour are also a risk to water quality and wild life, and pollution response teams regularly practice reducing this threat.

What do we want to do? 

We want to restore the estuary to good health, working with Napier City Council, Maori, Department of Conservation and other landowners and businesses in this area.

We want clean up the water entering the estuary.  We need to work on limiting the amount of sediment by planting to reduce erosion and trap sediment flows.  Businesses are much more aware of the risks of contamination through stormwater but continued best management is needed.   Homeowners need to be more aware of the cumulative risks from material they put into stormwater.

We want to remove pests – both predator animals and invasive weeds.

WHAKAKI LAKE & WAIROA RIVER - A better place for Wairoa people

Check out our more detailed publication about Lake Whakaki here

What do we want to fix?


The amount of sediment coming into the Wairoa rivers and lakes from erosion in the hill country is a continual problem, and brings unwanted nutrients into the river environment.  Lake Whakaki is still recovering as a wildlife habitat and eel fishery.

What do we want to do?

We want to develop a catchment enhancement plan to improve land use opportunities and reduce sediment from erosion. 

We will continue to work with Whakaki Lake Trustees to restore this valued lake and improve the habitat for tuna [eels] and bird life. 

There is the opportunity to continue to work with Wairoa District Council and the community to reduce erosion of the river bank and enhance the river sides with planting native trees.

WHATUMA AND THE TUKITUKI CATCHMENT - Healthier water in the Tukituki catchment

Check out our more detailed publication about Whatuma here

What do we want to fix?


During summer, low flows and higher temperatures mean that toxic algae can form in the Tukituki river. This is a risk for humans and dogs and affects the recreational aspect of the lower reaches of the river. Better water quality can also help the trout fishery.

What do we want to do?

We want to develop and environmental enhancement plan for river and stream edges, lake and wetlands [riparian],and enhance the biodiversity.

We want to continue to work to improve the water quality in the Tukituki catchment.  The Tukituki Plan is in place and farm environment management plans include fencing off waterways and planting streams edges, as well as land use management. 

Lake Whatuma is an important lake for water fowl, especially the largest NZ population of the very endangered native Bittern.  The water quality in this very shallow lake is affected by nutrients coming off the land and also the large numbers of water fowl, so algal blooms can result.  Reducing nutrient input will help.  HBRC will continue controlling willow along the margins to protect the swamp habitats while essential predator control by landowners and water fowl hunters will continue to be supported by HBRC. 

KARAMU STREAM - Improve the state of the Karamū Stream

Check out our more detailed publication about the Karamu Stream here

What do we want to fix?

The extensive size of the catchment means there are high amounts of contaminants coming into the stream, which then end up in the recreational area of the Clive River and Waitangi Estuary.

From Crosses Road Bridge

Rain run off from the streets, roofs and land in the urban areas of Hastings and Havelock North takes contaminants into the stream untreated.  Sediment from stream bank erosion and from farmland, and chemical run off from orchards impacts on the ecology of the stream, especially the lower reaches which suffer from accelerated weed growth in summer and the loss of pātiki [flounder] fisheries.  Contaminants in the water also cause health issues for rowers and other water users. 

Many of the smaller tributaries in urban areas are used as dumpsites or ‘compost’ areas, encouraging weeds, pests and water contamination, and better awareness by homeowners can reduce this problem.

What do we want to do?

We want to accelerate the current stream edge enhancement programme. Volunteers and landowners are doing good work to help reduce stream bank erosion and trap nutrients before these flow into the stream, while providing much needed native ecosystems for insects and birds and improving instream conditions for fish. 

We want to reduce the contaminants entering the water.

MARINE ENVIRONMENT - Be proud of our marine environment


Check out the more detailed publication on our Marine Environment

What do we want to fix?

We want a healthier coastal marine environment and to restore the abundance of local fisheries.

What do we want to do?

As a region and council we actually know too little about our marine environment so we want to kick start a programme of marine research. We will need the support of recreational, customary and commercial fishers to find out more and how we can better manage our marine environment.

Goals to reduce the amount of sediment and contaminants in our estuaries and low land streams will also help improve breeding habitats and HBRC has developed fish passage ramps so ocean-going fish and eels can migrate naturally in and out of streams and wetlands.

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