Toxic algae red alert at Waikanae River site

  • Published Date 03 Mar 2023
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Dangerous levels of toxic algae have been found in the Waikanae River prompting Greater Wellington to strongly advise the public not to swim in the river near Jim Cooke Park.

While the monitored site recorded moderate levels of toxic algae, just upstream and downstream in areas popular with dog walkers, levels were much higher (up to 60% coverage of the riverbed).

This has resulted in a proactive red alert being issued on the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website at the swimming site.

Dog owners walking near the Jim Cooke Park should keep their animals leashed – do not let them in or near the water, and most importantly, do not let your dog scavenge on the riverbank. Eating a tiny piece of the algae, as small as the size of a 50c piece, can be enough to kill a dog.

Greater Wellington monitors popular swimming spots on a weekly basis to make sure the community knows when and where it’s safe to swim.

To know if an area is suitable for swimming visit the LAWA website and check for warnings and alerts in the Wellington region.

To learn how to identify toxic algae visit Greater Wellington’s toxic algae webpage.

If you have been in contact with toxic algae and are feeling unwell, ring Healthline on 0800 611 116. 

If you think your dog has swallowed toxic algae or is showing symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, take it immediately to the nearest vet. 

Updated March 3, 2023 at 12:52 PM

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