Lake Kaituna (B)
Lake Kaituna (also known as Lake B) is one of eight small peat lakes in the Horsham Downs district, north east of Hamilton city. Once part of the now drained Kainui peat bog, the lake is located in an agricultural catchment and is hydrologically linked to the smaller Lake Komakorau (C). Managed by the Department of Conservation as a wildlife management reserve the lake covers an area of 15 hectares and is a maximum of 1.3 metres deep.
In 2001 a care group was formed by the Hayes family, whose neighbouring farm surrounds the lake. Andrew Hayes had become concerned that the lake was being taken over by invasive willow and decided it was time to take action.
The care group is made up of the Hayes family - Andrew and Jenny and their four sons, duck shooters who use the lake, neighbours and representatives from Waikato Regional Council and the Department of Conservation. The group has made significant progress in improving the lake values.
The Hayes family were the recipients of the BFEA Heritage Restoration Award at the 2005 regional farm environment awards.
Through funding from Waikato Regional Council and the Department of Conservation, and a lot of hard work themselves, the care group has:
- progressively removed all of the willow surrounding the lake and waged a war on other weeds including privet and blackberry
- removed rubbish that had been dumped around the sides of the lake
- installed sediment traps on the main inlet drains
- carried out animal pest control for possums and feral cats
- re-planted native species
- developed areas for wading birds
- installed a culvert so that the perimeter of the lake is fully accessible on foot.
Before and after
Since the restoration project began the number of birds visiting the lake has increased.
Frequently seen birds include grey teal which use the nesting boxes installed by the care group, several Australasian bittern which are regular visitors that can be heard booming during the spring months and the New Zealand dabchick.
The lake is also a habitat for eels and common bullies. The care group is interested in seeing the return of the threatened black mudfish to the wetland areas surrounding the lake.
An educational resource kit has been developed by the Department of Conservation, especially for Lake Kaituna. The kit has been developed to encourage teachers to take school groups to visit the lake and learn about its ecology. The resource kit for Lake Kaituna and other Waikato wetland sites is available on the Department of Conservation website.