The Negative Effects Of Eutrophication In The Waikato Region

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Eutrophication is the process which causes ecosystems such as lakes and rivers to increase in fertility due to a higher level of nutrients entering the lake or marine environment (Mayhew, 2015). This results in a growth of plants such as algae. As these algae plants die, aerobic and anaerobic bacteria cause decay, therefore use up the oxygen within the marine environment (Credo, 2015). Eutrophication has significant impacts on water quality of rivers and lakes within the Waikato region. Although many of these waterways in the Waikato Region are improving due to mitigation efforts, some, including Lake Rotorua are continuing to decline despite these efforts. Therefore, this has many negatives effects on the natural and cultural environment. …show more content…
Each of these impacts on the water quality of Lake Rotorua through pollution of nutrients and therefore causing the process of eutrophication. Rural land uses have significant impacts on eutrophication which leads to a decrease in water quality (AgResearch, 2014), with approximately 74% of nitrogen and 43% of phosphorus sources within Lake Rotorua come from agriculture and cropping (Rotorua Lakes Programme, n.d.). Practices taking place such as farming, dairy, horticulture and forestry, all contribute to the nitrogen and phosphorus entering the lake through overland flow and groundwater flow. This becomes an issue for not just current generations, but also future generations, as these nutrients take approximately 150 years to reach the lake through groundwater flow (Environment Bay of Plenty et al., 2009). This means that the problem is only going to decline before it improves, as it is a problem for years to come. Over time, practices such as the excessive use of fertilisers and animal runoff has led to this issue. These nutrients from the fertiliser and animal runoff leach down through the semi permeable soil, which is a characteristic of Rotorua Soil (Environment Bay of Plenty Regional Council, 2010), therefore entering the groundwater flow (Environment Bay of Plenty et al., 2009). Much of the land around …show more content…
The first of these being the significant impact on the environment through the flora and fauna within this lake. As algae decomposes it uses oxygen (Environment Bay of Plenty et. al., 2009). Flora and fauna needs this oxygen to survive and thrive within this marine environment. However, if they do not have access to this requirement, it leads to a loss of biodiversity, as only certain species can survive within these conditions (Hautier, 2009). Therefore, eutrophication is of urgent concern, as it is disrupting the natural habitat within Lake Rotorua. There is also a cultural significance for the local tangata whenua of Lake Rotorua, as it is seen as a taonga (treasure). This means the issue of eutrophication is of urgent concern, as it is causes deterioration of their taonga, and disruption to the mauri of the lake (Environment Bay of Plenty et al., 2009). The local tangata whenua have the need to protect this taonga, and the mauri of the lake, as the lake supports them, through supplying food and water. Therefore, if the lake is healthy, this effects the local tangata whenua, keeping them healthy as well (Marler et al., 2007). Another reason as to why this issue is of urgent concern is due to the negative effect on Rotorua’s major industries, these being tourism and trout fisheries (Environmental Bay of Plenty et al., 2009). Water quality has a large impact on tourism to this area, as the

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