It has been a busy few weeks for Greater Wellington Regional Council biosecurity officer Kieran McLean as he toured the region's top recreational river spots sharing the "check, clean, dry" message with locals and visitors.
Mr McLean will continue to support water-users to better understand how they can help protect our waterways throughout the summer months.
"Many water-users are aware of the need to clean-down gear and limit the spread of aquatic weeds. Nobody wants to see their favourite waterway choked with algae or weeds. Encouraging everybody to take that extra minute to "check, clean, dry", and help preserve our waterways for the future is vital," Mr McLean said.
"Of the hundreds of people I have spoken to this summer all have welcomed the 'check, clean, dry' reminder. Some had no idea how quickly and easily pest plants such as didymo or, lesser known pest plants such as hornwort and lagarosiphon, can spread through our river systems."
"I had some language difficulties with some French and German visitors but we got there in the end.
"Locals were all very receptive. A visitor from Alaska was particularly complimentary and had a surprisingly good knowledge of the problem."
The campaign encourages freshwater users to take personal responsibility for stopping the spread of aquatic pests.
"We are urging people to check their gear for any traces of plant material, thoroughly clean their gear with a detergent solution and then dry it for 48 hours. Gear means anything you take in the water from boats, trailers, cars or fishing equipment."
Aquatic pest plants can cause environmental, economic and social problems. Once established, they can smother and replace native aquatic plants, affect drinking water supplies and interfere with recreational activities such as fishing, boating and swimming.
"These invasive species can spread incredibly easily.
"Didymo is a microscopic alga that can spread through a single drop of water whereas hornwort and lagarosiphon can establish new plants from tiny stem fragments, easily broken from their parent plants by fishing lines, boat anchors or swimmers."
For detailed information and cleaning recommendations go to: www.mpi.govt.nz and search "check clean dry".
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