Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has confirmed the presence of Alligator weed at Lake Whatumā (Lake Hatuma) in Central Hawke’s Bay.
Alligator weed is an invasive pest and recognised as a severe threat to agriculture and biodiversity. Listed as an Exclusion Pest under the Hawkes Bay Regional Pest Management Plan 2018-2038, it is very aggressive, has an exceptionally deep root system and spreads readily from only minimal plant matter.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Integrated Catchment Management Group Manager, Iain Maxwell, says, “Our biosecurity team identified Alligator weed at Lake Whatumā on 12 April and their initial actions focussed on notifying properties adjacent to the lake and erecting signage to encourage biosecurity measures to limit further spread.”
Alligator weed is already a major problem in Northland and infestations have also been identified in Waikato and Manawatu. It out competes pastures and crops, is toxic to stock, blocks waterways and drains and may affect whitebait spawning areas.
Council have been in touch with mana whenua, all the lake stakeholders as well as the Department of Conservation, Hawke’s Bay Fish and Game and the Whatumā Catchment group.
The focus this week is on conducting an extensive delimiting survey to determine how widespread the weed has become. This will include searching the entire Mangatarata Stream as well as any inlets to the lake, Council said in a statement.
Once the delimiting survey has been completed and the full extent of the outbreak is known, Mr Maxwell said the Regional Council to finalise a control and management plan with a goal of eradicating the weed and stopping further spread.