Lake Ellesmere Clean Up Underway

  • 17/08/2016

Derelict maimais and rubbish on Canterbury’s Lake Ellesmere have met their match with Fish & Game staff removing them as part of a long running annual programme of environmental enhancement work.

FGNZ LEmaimai3The maimais are used for hunting waterfowl and each year, Fish & Game staff spend a week on Lake Ellesmere or Te Waihora each year removing abandoned derelict maimai, as well as rubbish and debris.

In 2002, the North Canterbury Fish & Game Council joined forces with Ngai Tahu and the Department of Conservation when a management plan for Lake Ellesmere was established.

As part of this plan, Fish & Game signed up to a Maimai Management Agreement which sees the organization manage maimais on the lake more closely than in the past.

This management involves removing all abandoned or derelict maimais from the lakebed as well as contributing to a dedicated fund administered by Ngai Tahu, DoC and Fish & Game which used to fund habitat and enhancement projects on the lake.

The “Joint Management Fund” is paid for by gamebird hunters, with 50 percent of the adult gamebird hunting licence fee for each registered Ellesmere maimai on the lake.

This “Joint Management Fund” is administered by the DoC, Ngai Tahu and Fish & Game and used to fund habitat and enhancement projects on the lake.

Since removal of derelict maimais began in June 2002, nearly 700 have been removed from the lake.

The derelict maimais are removed using a barged digger towed behind a jet boat.

This has proved to be a very successful method, resulting in virtually no adverse environmental effects and has greatly improved aesthetics and safety for lake users in this portion of the lake.

At the same time as the maimais are pulled down, debris such as dumped car wrecks, tree stumps and old posts are also removed, an environmental enhancement project paid for by the maimai levy.

“It seemed sensible to remove other debris at the same time as the maimais, to further enhance the safety and aesthetics for lake users,” says Fish & Game North Canterbury Field Officer Steve Terry.

FGNZ LEmaimai6“Among the unsightly rubbish we have taken away are a thousand old tyres which had been placed around the mouth of the Halswell River many years ago by local farmers to minimise lake shore erosion,” Mr Terry says.

“These were no longer effective for minimising erosion and were scattered over a 750m stretch of lakeshore to the west of the Halswell River mouth,” he says.

Other projects underway include improving the public access to the lake.

“Overall, these projects have proved very successful and have significantly improved the areas of lake concentrated on so far, Fish & Game North Canterbury General manager Rod Cullinane says.

“Public awareness of the management plan process to clean up the lake has also improved, with reports that some hunters have taken responsibility and removed some of the derelict maimais themselves,” he says.

Fish & Game’s clean up efforts have been positively received by other lake users.

Video of Fish & Game undertaking the removal is available here

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