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Auckland Council looks to encourage eel population, reduce goose poo at Western Springs

Auckland’s popular Western Springs Lakeside Park is set for a facelift, with a new plan for its future set to be signed off by the council in the next month.

Water quality and pollution from birds have been issues for years.

In the past, it's seen ducks become sick with avian botulism.

Auckland Council is aware of the problems, saying its new plan focuses on improving the water quality and will also see increased service levels for cleaning poo-covered paths.

"All of the ecology and wildlife at the park will benefit from improved water quality," said Pippa Coom, Waitematā Local Board chairwoman.

"Some of the actions we are looking at is managing the high nutrient levels, more planting around the lake, controlling the runoff and encouraging people not to feed birds in the lake."

The council wants to encourage the population of eels in the lake, planning to set up feeding and viewing stations as part of that.

In contrast, the number of geese living in the park will be controlled.

They plan to do so "by ethically controlling the chicks that are born through a process called addling… That's a non-invasive way of sterilising an egg", said Auckland Council’s Acting Head of Operational Management and Maintenance Simon Randall.

The plan also looks at restoring a natural wetland area, more native planting and a new playground.

But St Lukes Environmental Protection Society chairwoman Elizabeth Walker says the council hasn’t gone far enough.

"It's such a special area in Auckland's volcanic heritage where the water from the aquifer bubbles to the surface," she said.

A rare rock forest - the result of volcanic eruptions - needs to be enhanced and protected, she has argued.

"That in turn will help to purify and filter the water," Ms Walker said.

"The value of Western Springs is not just being here but it actually impacts the whole of the Auckland isthmus, we should be thinking about the corridors for birds and bats ."

The water once provided Auckland’s drinking supply, but too many geese have moved in. Source: 1 NEWS