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.