Council encourages dog owners to look out for algae in waterways
Kāpiti Coast District Council is advising dog-owners to keep an eye out for toxic algae in the district’s waterways as the temperature rises. That includes lagoons in parks and reserves as well as rivers and streams.
Environmental Standards Manager Jacquie Muir says seasonal changes that occur around this time of year impact on algae levels and it’s likely that we’ll soon see toxic algae in some parts of Kāpiti.
“While it’s early in the season, we’re noticing the water levels dropping and it is possible cyanobacteria, an algae which is toxic to dogs, will appear so we’re taking this opportunity to remind people to be aware of the risks.
“Toxic algae is a naturally occurring process in warm weather and we’re encouraging dog owners to keep a careful eye on water and rock surfaces if their pet is in and around our rivers and streams,” Ms Muir says.
“If you suspect toxic algae might be present then keep your dogs out of the water and let us know so we can do additional water testing.”
The Council will maintain its seasonal monitoring program of recreational swimming sites, in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council. This happens weekly during the summer months.
Test results from popular river, lagoon and beach locations are available on the Council’s website.
What to look out for if you suspect toxic algae:
In rivers, cyanobacteria generally form brown or black mats that grow on rocks in the river bed. Mats that come loose from the river bed can wash up on the river bank or form floating ‘rafts’ in shallow areas. When exposed, the mats may dry out and turn a light brown or white colour and may also produce a strong musty odour. Cyanobacteria differ from harmless bright green algae, which often form long filaments.
Greater Wellington Regional Council has more information about toxic algae at www.gw.govt.nz/toxic-algae