Uses of LakeSPI

LakeSPI can be used in many ways depending on what the interests or management needs are for a lake.

LakeSPI assessments are currently being used by lake mangers to:

  • Describe the ecological condition of a lake.
  • Assess and compare the ecological condition of different lakes within or between regions.
  • Monitor trends and assess changes occurring over time within a lake or group of lakes.
  • Rank the state of the lakes in a region or nationally.
  • Prioritise lake management actions (e.g. protection, surveillance or management).
  • Help assess the effectiveness of catchment and lake management initiatives.
  • Contribute towards regional and national reporting requirements.

See the LakeSPI Reporting guidelines for information on how to report on LakeSPI condition. 

Reporting guidelines

Questions LakeSPI can help answer

General lake condition

  • What is the overall condition or 'status' of this lake?
  • Is the overall condition of this lake stable, improving or deteriorating?
  • How does this lake compare to others in the region or nationally?
  • Is water clarity improving or declining?
  • What lakes (either by region or lake type) are in the best condition and provide the best prospect for implementing protective management?

Invasive weed species

  • How pervasive has alien weed invasion been in this lake?
  • How many invasive weed species are there?
  • Which weed species are present?
  • What further impacts are possible from invasive weed species?

Native plant communities

  • What is the status of the native plant communities in this lake?
  • Is there a high diversity of native plant communities?
  • Have native communities been largely or entirely replaced by invasive weed species?
  • How do the present-day plant communities in a lake/group of lakes compare to the expected pre-European / pre-human condition?

Restoration goals

  • How can management strategies be prioritised according to current lake ecological condition.
  • How can restoration goals be set and progress monitored towards outcomes?

Reporting requirements

  • How can the ecological condition of lakes within a region be reported on in a nationally standardised and user friendly format?
  • Where can tools and supporting resources for assessing lake ecological condition be found? 

Limitations of LakeSPI

Not all lakes are suitable for assessment using the LakeSPI method.

  • Lakes need to have submerged plants present.
  • Lakes must not be influenced by brackish or estuarine conditions.
  • Submerged vegetation communities must not be affected by unusual physical or chemical variables.
  • The LakeSPI method has not yet been evaluated for its application in high altitude tarns.

More about these limitations can be viewed in the LakeSPI Technical Report. 

NIWA diver Aleki Taumopeau with invasive weeds in Lake Rotorangi. Credit: Rohan Wells
Lake Benmore. Credit: John Clayton