Guardian group’s outgoing leader buoyed by turnout

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PAM.JONES

@alliedpress.co.nz

New leadership will hopefully come soon for the Guardians of Lake Dunstan, outgoing group chairman Glen Christiansen says.

Mr Christiansen said he was heartened by the calibre of people who attended a meeting in Cromwell last week about the future of the group.

He had previously issued a “call to action” to Central Otago residents to get more support for the group and increase its profile and the work it did.

About 20 people attended the meeting and it was hoped a new chairman and active members would be announced soon, Mr Christiansen said.

Those at the meeting criticised the level of funding given by agencies to lagarosiphon control in Lake Dunstan, saying it made Lake Dunstan look like the “poor relation” compared to lakes Wakatipu and Wanaka.

Land and Information New Zealand (Linz) is the agency responsible for managing lagarosiphon in Lake Dunstan and it leads the Lake Dunstan Aquatic Weed Management Group, which includes other agencies.

Linz land and property group manager Jeremy Barr said lagarosiphon remained a “challenge to manage” and tools for managing the pest weed were “limited”.

“We will continue to use the funding across the Central Otago lakes to best achieve the objectives of the three aquatic weed management plans, however, we see a breakthrough in technology as the key to making significant gains in the management of this weed species,” Mr Barr said.

Linz had $210,000 for lagarosiphon management in Lake Dunstan in the 2018-19 year – $125,000 from Linz, $60,000 from Contact Energy and $25,000 from the Otago Regional Council.

However, only $112,274 had been spent, as bad weed and water conditions meant it had not been suitable for using aquatic herbicide, Mr Barr said.