Education centre planned for lake

Agencies and community groups who work to restore lakes and wetlands in the Waipa District attended a Waikato Biodiversity Forum in conjunction with the Waipa District Council at Te Rahu recently.

The Waikato Biodiversity Forum is a group of research and management agencies, iwi groups, private landowners and community groups who are committed to protecting and increasing native biodiversity in the Waikato region.

Peat lakes are a special feature of the Waipa landscape and there are now only 17 left in the district.

A diverse range of species depend of these lakes and wetlands for their survival.

These include endangered birds such as bittern, fernbird, banded rail, spotless crake and dabchick and plants such as the cane rush.

This rush is home to a new species of moth discovered nine years ago by a Landcare Research scientist.

Fish such as shortfin eels, bullies and smelt inhabit the water of wetland and lakes.

An unusual aquatic insect called the whirligig beetle has been found in Lake Rotomanuka.

The forum was opened by Ngati Apakura kaumatua Charlie Maikuku and groups presenting included Waikato-Tainui, Fish and Game, Landcare Research, Department of Conservation, QEII.

A presentation by Te Awamutu Primary School pupil Leon Mackey (9) who works with the Mangaohoi Streamcare Group was a highlight of the day.

Guests commented is was inspiring to hear from such an environmentally knowledgeable young person.

The forum participants visited Rotopiko/Lake Serpentine (pictured above) to hear future plans for the National Wetland Centre.

There will be a National Wetland Education Centre built on the site, which is great news for Waipa District.

Board walks will be developed around and over parts of the lake to allow access to view the habitat and species of the area at closer proximity. The forum finished with discussion on working together to benefit new wetlands and lake projects in the Waipa District.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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