26 Sep 2011

Lake water quality improving

6:35 am on 26 September 2011

A Northland lake that's been a polluted pond for years - is well on the road to recovery.

Lake Omapere near Kaikohe used to be an important food source for Maori.

But last century it became polluted by farm run-off, cattle, and oxygen weed leading to toxic algal blooms that poisoned local rivers.

In the last 10 years, surrounding farmers have fenced off their land, and local people have planted hundreds of flax bushes around the lake to absorb nutrients.

Northland Regional Council says Lake Omapere is now one of the few New Zealand lakes whose health is improving.

NRC environmental officer Emma Simpson says the levels of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphates, have reduced and the water is much clearer.

Ms Simpson says Lake Omapere has always had a good eel population, but with the improvement in water quality, freshwater mussels are recovering as well.