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Discovering Tāmaki Makaurau's largest dune lake!

On the 17th March the Mountains to Sea Auckland team ran a snorkel day at Lake Rototoa in South Head. As part of our Wai Connection project we teamed up with South Kaipara Landcare and Auckland Council in order to help locals explore and learn more about this precious dune lake.

With the help our our epic team of volunteer snorkel guides we were able to get 45 people through the water witnessing first hand what lies beneath the lakes surface! Whilst gliding through the kuta surrounding the lakes edge and delving into the murky depths participants spotted some super special endemic freshwater species like dwarf īnanga, common bullies and kākahi/freshwater mussels. Unfortunately the lake also has its challenges in the form of pest fish like gambusia and perch, both of which were easily spotted by snorkellers. Luckily we had Whitebait Connection and Auckland Council on hand to shed light on the impact of these pest fish and other challenges facing the lake as well as sharing ways in which locals can help look after and protect this fragile ecosystem. Strong biosecurity messages like check clean dry were at the forefront of conversations as well as sharing opportunities to get involved in local conservation initiatives like planting days, pest trapping and freshwater monitoring.

We got some lovely feedback from participants who enjoyed discovering more about the lake that is on their back door step, as well as gaining more water confidence and water safety skills along the way.

A big thank you goes to our event funders the Ministry for the Environment and Water Safety New Zealand as well as our awesome event partners South Kaipara Landcare, Auckland Council and of course or stellar team of volunteers!

Check out the full photo album below.

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