Lake conservation efforts have been an ongoing project at the University. These efforts are more than just making the campus more attractive; it's about education, research, teaching and community engagement.
There are three small shallow lakes on the University of Waikato campus, created by excavation during construction of the University for the purposes of storm-water detention.
Thanks to funding from Waikato River Authority, we removed over 6,000 pest fish and 1,600 cubic metres of sediment from Oranga Lake in 2013. We planted 2,000 native plants, put a pest fish barrier in place between Knighton Lake and Oranga Lake, and developed a rongoā garden (Māori medicinal plants). A flocculant was also applied to the lake to drop out various types of sediments in 2014.
Some of the issues we have faced in our lake conservation efforts include, the shallow depth of the lakes which is difficult to deepen due to the water table, eutrophication, aquatic weed, algal growths as well as pest fish.
Pest fish are a problem in many Waikato lakes, and can hinder lake restoration. Carp, goldfish, gambusia and catfish all compete with our native fish (shortfin eel and common bully), and can churn up the bottom sediments making the water murky. This process is called bioturbation, and mobilises nutrients which promote algal blooms.
Please do not release any fish into the campus lakes. Introducing fish disrupts the lake's fragile ecosystem and degrades water quality. The campus lakes are connected to the storm water system which in turn discharges to the Waikato River.
Research publications on our campus lakes include:
- Storm water inflow to Oranga Lake, University of Waikato Hamilton Campus, 2014, Grant Tempero and David Hamilton
- Sediment Removal as a Restoration Measure for the Campus Lakes, 2008, Wendy Paul and David Hamilton
- Management of the University of Waikato campus lakes, 2002, Brendan J. Hicks and Nicholas Bryant