It’s not too late to save our lakes

GNS in the Media

17 April 2023

Lake Mueller, situated on a plateau north of the Fox valley, West Coast

National study co-led by Cawthron Institute and GNS Science confirms 45% of lakes are in poor health - but it's not too late to change that.

There has never been a stronger call to action for New Zealanders to work together to improve the health of our precious lakes.

The biggest survey of lake health in Aotearoa New Zealand’s history

Five years after commencing the Lakes380 Programme leaders at Cawthron Institute and GNS Science say there has never been a stronger call to action for New Zealanders to work together to improve the health of our precious lakes.

“Unfortunately the news isn’t good, with the results of our surveying and modelling revealing that over 80% of lakes in the North Island and 45% nationally are in poor or very poor health,” says programme co-leader Dr Susie Wood of Cawthron Institute.

Wood says although the initial five-year funded Programme has come to an end, the research team intends to continue this important work and is currently seeking funding to do so.

“The benefits of the data and tools produced by the Lakes380 Programme are just the beginning – after completing the biggest lake health survey in our nation’s history, we understand the scale of the challenge facing us and have the engagement of communities across Aotearoa New Zealand who care passionately about making a difference.

The next step is to start building the biggest lake restoration effort in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand. We need to develop better monitoring tools and systems. We’re seeking funding support from Government to do this.

Dr Susie Wood Programme co-leader Cawthron Institute

Programme co-lead at GNS Science, Marcus Vandergoes says due to the programme we now have a good platform to build on to support restoration action.

“Our research team are currently working hard to secure funding to continue this work that will support restoration efforts. I’d encourage New Zealanders to visit link) and view the data we have produced for the lakes in their region, as I think some of the results may surprise people in terms of understanding why our lakes are in the state they are in, and what has happened in their history.”

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