Summer Didymo Warning

Published: Mon 24 Dec 2007 12:01 AM
Summer Didymo Warning
The weather may be perfect for boating on the lakes this summer but recent didymo scares mean Bay of Plenty lake users can’t afford to get complacent about cleaning and drying their gear
Environment Bay of Plenty pest plant officer Richard Mallinson urges all water users to check, clean and dry any gear between waterways every single time.
“This is not just a message for people in the South Island or from overseas,” says Richard Mallinson. “We don’t think didymo is in the North Island yet – but it could be – and we can’t take any chances.”
If didymo does infect our lakes and waterways, it will cover the lake and river beds in a gooey growth. This will decrease water oxygen levels destroying fish populations and make swimming very unpleasant.
Environment Bay of Plenty pest plant coordinator John Mather says it is essential that people make a habit of precautionary cleaning. Otherwise, they put the Bay of Plenty’s waterways at risk.
“You must always check your boat and equipment for weed fragments if you’re moving between lakes. It only takes one strand of weed to start off a new infestation and weeds can harbour pest fish eggs too,” says John Mather.
“We can’t afford to be complacent. Once new pests are established, they can be almost impossible to eradicate so prevention is the key.”
In most cases didymo is hard to see on boats and gear. It’s microscopic and invisible, and can survive in a small pool of water or in a damp wader’s sole.
What can you do?
CHECK your equipment and remove any weed/algae
CLEAN your gear by soaking it in household detergent
DRY items that you can’t clean and don’t use them for two days.
Don’t wear felt-soled waders in different waterways – standard cleaning practices don’t kill didymo.
Environment Bay of Plenty, the Department of Conservation and Biosecurity New Zealand will be employing students over the summer holidays to spread the Check, Clean, Dry message. The students will be visiting popular recreational areas around the region’s rivers and lakes.

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