Sun, Jul 17, 2022 6:00 AM

New group forms to enhance Lake Elterwater-Ruakanakana


Staff reporter

Lake Elterwater-Ruakanakana has perhaps been a little under-appreciated in Marlborough’s biodiversity treasure chest, with most vehicles speeding past on SH1 without stopping to look at the “muddy puddle”.

However, this isn’t the sentiment of its adjacent landowners: Dave Barker, John Hickman and Andrew Donovan, who, along with representatives from NZ Landcare Trust, Marlborough District Council, Ngati Kuri, and keen individuals such as wetland ecologists, have recently formed the Lake Elterwater-Ruakanakana Restoration Group.

Lake Elterwater-Ruakanakana is a shallow freshwater lake, with extensive wetland fringes, just north of Ward.

The lake has had the designation of a wildlife refuge since 1956, and provides an important habitat for a number of waterfowl.

It is nationally significant in that it is home to all four species of grebe, including the ‘nationally vulnerable’ Australasian crested grebe, which has a New Zealand population of around 600.

Over thirty species of native birds have been observed on and around the lake.

The adjacent landowners, supported by council, have been undertaking planting and weed control over the last 10 years.

The group are keen to expand on this work and instigate measures to mitigate poor water quality, erosion and sedimentation to see the return of species such as freshwater mussel and bittern, and create an educational visitor experience for the community.

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