wildlife habitat pic

Wildlife habitat restoration

Fish Habitat – With Descriptor

About the project

Living Water has partnered with landowners, community and iwi to carry out lake restoration activities. These include replacing exotic weeds with native plants around lake riparian margins; predator control by trapping; managing pest fish; and retiring and restoring previously grazed public land. Living Water has improved access to all three lakes to carry out these activities.

Living Water is also working closely with Waikato Regional Council, Waipa District Council, the Landcare Trust and National Wetland Trust to share learnings and provide support as we trial and implement freshwater improvement interventions, which include:

  • A floating wetland trial at Lake Areare
  • Refining sediment traps around lakes Ruatuna and Rotomanuka to ensure they are functioning optimally to intercept and reduce the flow of sediment and nutrients into the lakes
  • Working with Ngāti Apukura to explore the possibility of creating a pa harakeke/rongoā garden at Lake Ruatuna


  • Enhanced habitat around the lake margins for increased native biodiversity and filtering of nutrients and sediment.
  • Restoration of globally rare peat ecosystem
  • Combining resources with other partners increases scale and size of restored area while building stakeholder network 


  • Trapping has been in progress in Areare since early 2016, Ruatuna since mid-2016, and Rotomanuka since mid-2017.
  • Puweto (spotless crake) are used as an indicator species to help measure the success of predator trapping. Using call playback methods, results to date suggest Puweto numbers are increasing. Read about the crake work here.
  • Willow, blackberry and privet control has continued around the lakes. 
  • DOC’s ‘Good to Grow’ partnership with the Department of Corrections has resulted in many hours of weed control carried out by community workers. 
  • An innovative approach to controlling Water Primrose (Ludwigia) using a drone (UAV) was successfully trialled at lake Ruatuna.
  • Extensive planting (<200,000 plants) over the three lakes completed 2021
  • Rongoā plant species have been planted in areas formerly occupied by privet and Japanese walnut. 
  • Sediment traps in place and kuta planted in sediment ponds has survived and thrived
  • Pest fish trap installed at Areare and a koi carp barrier installed at Lake Ruatuna
  • Pest fishing undertaken annually
Dion Patterson

Dion Patterson

DOC Site Lead, Waikato Peat Lakes