Peat lakes are globally rare ecosystems and the Waikato Region is home to 31 of them. These lakes are formed over thousands of years and are home to species that have adapted to their unique conditions.
- The Waikato Peat lakes are important historically, culturally and environmentally. They are described as ‘acutely threatened’ under the Land Environments of New Zealand Threatened Environments Classification, which highlights the importance of restoring and building the resilience of indigenous ecosystems in low lying peat lands.
- Lakes Areare, Ruatuna and Rotomānuka have elevated levels of nutrients (in the eutrophic-super trophic range), sediment and pathogens, and considerable nutrient stores within lake sediments.
- Restoration of water quality in these lakes is very difficult and will require a range of remediation measures.
- Improving water quality within the peat lake system will help mudfish, bittern, fern birds, dab chicks and long-finned eel return to the lakes.