What we are doing
We are responding to community concerns about sea lettuce in three ways:
1. Reducing the amount of nutrients entering Tauranga Harbour by working with land owners, business owners, local councils and the wider community to:
- Reduce diffuse nutrient sources such as from agricultural runoff and nutrients that drain through the soil and into groundwater which eventually enters the harbour.
- Prevent point sources of nutrients such as from septic tank seepage and storm water drains.
2. Investing in research to further understand the problem and identify viable management options.
3. Reducing the public nuisance factor and hydrogen sulphide risk by working with Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District Councils to remove sea lettuce from high use public areas around the Tauranga Harbour.
Wherever possible, the sea lettuce is rinsed, dewatered and taken to a commercial composting facility where it’s washed and processed along with other green waste. In the rare instances that the collected sea lettuce is too badly decomposed, contaminated with sand or there’s too much of it for the compost facility to handle, it may be disposed of to landfill.
What you can do
You can help manage sea lettuce by collecting it from the foreshore and using it as a fertiliser or compost supplement inyour garden. Wash it and use it sparingly to avoid salt build-up in your soil. Find out more in this Sea Lettuce and the Garden booklet, produced by Tauranga HarbourWatch Inc.