Environment Canterbury to continue Lindavia sampling this summer
Further testing for Lindavia, the algae that causes Lake Snow, is likely to occur in Canterbury lakes in the northern part of the region this summer.
Environment Canterbury principal surface water scientist Adrian Meredith said systematic sampling for the algae was undertaken in lakes located in the southern part of the region earlier this year.
"In December 2016, we attended a workshop with researchers and Otago Regional Council on the problems they were seeing down on Wanaka and Wakatipu with Lake Snow.
"We were certainly concerned that it might be present in Canterbury lakes so during the past summer and autumn we engaged NIWA who were doing some other sampling for us [in the southern part of the region], to also sample for Lindavia algae to see if it was present in our lakes."
The results indicated the algae was present in eight lakes in addition to Lake Coleridge and Lake Opuha which were tested in 2012 and 2013. While aesthetically unpleasant, Lake Snow - the mucus material produced by Lindavia - is not a health risk.
"The problem is the mucus material clogs filters, messes up fishing gear, filters on boats and generally it's quite unsightly," Adrian said.
Adrian said Environment Canterbury is looking to assess whether Lindavia is present in other Canterbury lakes this summer.
"This is most likely to be in association with the NIWA Lake Submerged Plant Indicator (SPI) surveys, however, it will not be until another month or two that we confirm what lakes that survey will include."
"That said, we will also be looking to 'gap fill' this issue this coming summer by some means anyway, whether by NIWA surveys, our own, or a combination of the two."
For those moving around different Canterbury lakes, the message is clear:
"Even if you can’t see the Lake Snow, it doesn’t mean Lindavia isn’t there. Be vigilant and remember to check, clean dry all equipment and boats."
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Frequently asked questions
The term Lake Snow comes from the fact that it can look like snow particles. As it ages it turns a reddish-brown colour.
- Lake Heron
- Lake Tekapo
- Lake McGregor
- Kellands Pond
- Lake Alexandrina
- Lake Ruataniwha
- Lake Waitaki
- Lake Benmore
- Lake Opuha (Feb 2013)
- Lake Coleridge (2012)