Ecological modelling of water quality management options in Lake Waahi to support Hauanga Kai species: Technical Report
Allan, M. G. (2018). Ecological modelling of water quality management options in Lake Waahi to support Hauanga Kai species: Technical Report (ERI report). Hamilton, New Zealand: Environmental Research Institute, The University of Waikato.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12822
This report describes a numerical modelling approach for Lake Waahi to assess the effects of various future scenarios on water quality attributes known to affect the appearance of the lake’s multiple hauanga kai species across differing spatial scales. Hauanga kai refers to customary gathering and use of naturally occurring and cultivated foods. Numerical models were used to support shared learning and development of future scenarios in response to different management options and environmental pressures. The shallow lakes of the Waikato region have been particularly impacted by anthropogenic eutrophication. This is due to the fact that many of these lakes have already undergone a degree of natural eutrophication due to their geomorphic properties, such as their low elevation and shallow depth. The main contributing factors to water quality decline in shallow Waikato lakes have been identified as: high external nutrient and sediment loads, internal loading exacerbated by high sediment resuspension and bioturbation from pest fish (carp), reduced water depth due to installation of water control structures, reduction in wetland filtering potential due to draining, and stock access to wetlands. A 1-D hydrodynamics model, the General Ocean Turbulence Model was coupled to a complex ecological model (PClake) via the Framework for Aquatic Biogeochemical Models (FABM). FABM is an open source FORTAN-based code that facilitates the coupling of hydrodynamic and ecological models. FABM-PCLake is a redesigned PCLake. The consensus from the model simulations carried out in the study suggests that, for Lake Waahi to undergo restoration whereby the lake is restored to clear-water stable state, both external load needs to be reduced significantly by greater than 50%, along with changes in lake ecological structure, resulting from re-establishment of macrophytes aided by the control of carp biomass. These finding supports the general view within the literature that for lake restoration success, external load reduction (catchment load) is critical. Finally, if the ultimate goal of lake restoration in Lake Waahi is to address the decline in tuna (shortfin eel - Anguilla australis) biomass, a return to a clear-water stable state should facilitate improvement in tuna habitat and provide the conditions for development of a healthy eel population. Coupled modelling approaches will provide a more complete picture of potential responses of Hauanga kai species to land and lake management scenarios.
Environmental Research Institute, The University of Waikato
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