Swim­mers start sci­ence project


Wanaka Lake Swim­mers Club mem­bers have be­gun reg­u­lar mid win­ter dips as part of a ci­ti­zen sci­ence project.

The sam­ples the swim­mers col­lect from Roys Bay over the next six months will com­ple­ment the Cu­ri­ous Minds ci­ti­zen sci­ence project by Wanaka Pri­mary School and Mt As­pir­ing Col­lege stu­dents.

Is­sues in­clude the pres­ence of lin­davia and lake snot and the ef­fects of stormwa­ter drain runoff.

The swim­mers’ only find­ing on July 16 was that the 10deg wa­ter was ‘‘cold’’, as they spent about 20 min­utes tri­alling sam­pling meth­ods and mon­i­tor­ing tools along the swim buoy line.

En­vi­ron­ment sci­en­tist Chris Ar­buckle is lead­ing the project, which be­gins in earnest on July 30.

A Christchurch lab­o­ra­tory will test the sam­ples. Ar­buckle and his Touch­stone team will an­a­lyse data sheets.

Club pres­i­dent Jackie Boyd said swim­mers wanted to find out more about the qual­ity of the wa­ter they were swim­ming in.

‘‘We had no­ticed changes in clar­ity and the residue left af­ter swim­ming, wanted to find out why, and had a chance to be in­volved,’’ she said.

Ar­buckle said Wanaka Pri­mary School’s ci­ti­zen sci­en­tists had been study­ing four ‘‘fresh­wa­ter beast­ies’’ – tuna, koara, grebe and trout.

They have been check­ing storm wa­ter drains and work­ing around Bul­lock Creek, which feeds into Roys Bay, while the col­lege team has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing an area be­tween Brem­ner Bay and the boat ramp on Lake­side Road.

The ci­ti­zen sci­ence project has just over $18,000 in fund­ing from var­i­ous sources, in­clud­ing the Min­istry of Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment’s Un­lock­ing Cu­ri­ous Minds fund.

Wa­ter qual­ity sam­pling and lo­gis­tics will ab­sorb most of the project’s bud­get.

The swim­mers and stu­dents are vol­un­teers, as are Ar­buckle and his Touch­stone col­leagues de­sign en­gi­neer and swim­mer Ed­die Spear­ing and agri­cul­tural con­sul­tant Erica van Ree­nen.

Ar­buckle is sep­a­rately work­ing with the Cawthron In­sti­tute on a na­tional strat­egy for emerg­ing or­ganic con­tam­i­nants.

As part of that work, he would seek an ex­pert opin­ion on di­quat and meth­ods used to dis­cern any en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fect, as that was an im­por­tant topic at a re­cent Wanaka work­shop, he said.


Chris Ar­buckle, right, briefs swim­mers Sharyn Gin­gell Kent and Ed­die Spear­ing.

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