Lakes Areare, Ruatuna, Rotomānuka

Lakes Areare, Ruatuna, Rotomānuka

About the area

Globally peat lakes are rare ecosystems – the Waikato Region is home to 31 of them. These lakes formed over thousands of years and are home to species that have adapted to their unique conditions.

Classified as ‘acutely threatened’, the Waikato peat lakes are important historically, culturally and environmentally.

Living Water is focused on three specific lakes – Areare, Rotomānuka and Ruatuna. Improving water quality of these lakes will help mudfish, bittern, fern birds, dab chicks and long-finned eel return. It will also enhance recreational use.

The challenge

Lakes Areare, Ruatuna and Rotomānuka have elevated levels of nutrients, sediment and pathogens, and considerable nutrient stores within lake sediments. This has been caused by the various productive land uses in the area and the highly modified hydrology and drainage systems. Enhancement of water quality in these lakes is extremely difficult and will require a range of remediation measures.

Living Water’s key focus is restoring unique peat ecosystems, enhancing habitat around the lake margins, and transforming agricultural drains into healthy waterways.

  • 268ha Areare sub-catchment area
  • 479ha Rotomānuka sub-catchment area
  • 190ha Ruatuna sub-catchment area
  • 10 Fonterra dairy farms
Sunrise at Lake Rotomanuka

Lakes Ruatuna and Rotomānuka catchment

Lake Areare catchment

Projects in Progress

Sediment Traps Trial

Sediment Traps

Sediment traps are simple, low-cost excavations in a watercourse or near a waterbody that capture and reduce the downstream movement of gravel, sand, and silt. 

Completed Projects

Hydroseeding Trial

Hydroseeding Trial

Spraying a mixture of water, seed, mulch and sometimes fertilisers onto the ground in difficult to reach places

COMPLETED

Water Primrose (Ludwigia) Control

Water Primrose (Ludwigia) Control

Reducing the biomass of invasive macrophyte Ludwigia by aerial spraying with drones, rather than hand weeding or excavation

COMPLETED

Use of eDNA to detect species at Waikato Peat Lakes

Use of eDNA to detect species

Using a sample of water, soil or sediment can detect species much more easily than electrofishing or intensive trapping

COMPLETED

Engaging with the community

Engaging with the community

Community engagement is key to any project. Once the project is over, it’s the community that keeps it alive

COMPLETED

Engaging with schools

Engaging with schools

If children are engaged, they can develop a sense of ownership of an area, see the positive changes in the area over the years, and influence their parents to become involved.

Our team

Rose Graham

Rose Graham

DOC Ranger - Waikato Peat Lakes and Pūkorokoro-Miranda
Lee Framp

Lee Framp

Fonterra Sustainable Dairying Advisor, Waikato Peat Lakes
Katie Collins

Katie Collins

DOC Freshwater Science Lead
Ray Scrimgeour

Ray Scrimgeour

DOC Operations Manager
Debra Kells

Debra Kells

Fonterra Head of Farm Source, Waikato

Our farmers

Rob and Jo Moritz

Rob and Jo Moritz

Are you part of Living Water?

Are you part of Living Water?

Contact us to have your farm acknowledged and your photo added

Our partners & friends

Karen Denyer

Karen Denyer

National Wetland Trust of New Zealand
Tony Roxburgh

Tony Roxburgh

National Wetland Trust of New Zealand
Karen Fullerton

Karen Fullerton

Ohaupo Community
Karen and Alasdair Nicoll

Karen and Alasdair Nicoll

Ohaupo Community
Keri Thompson, Tana Bell and Brodie Spearpoint

Keri Thompson, Tana Bell and Brodie Spearpoint

Te Mapi Ngāti Hauā Mahi Trust
Ngāti Apakura

Ngāti Apakura

Mahuru Wilcox

Mahuru Wilcox

Landcare Research
Wayne Green

Wayne Green

Lake Ruatuna Users Group
Waikato Tainui

Waikato Tainui

Waikato Regional Council

Waikato Regional Council

Waipa District Council

Waipa District Council

Waikato District Council

Waikato District Council

University of Waikato

University of Waikato

Fish and Game Waikato

Fish and Game Waikato

NIWA

NIWA

Supporting documents