Ecological condition of lakes in New Zealand

Based on Lake Submerged Plant Index, 2007–2016, % of sampled lakes


The Lake SPI Index: A combination of the Native condition index (an indicator of the biodiversity and extent of native vegetation within a lake) and the Invasive impact index (an indicator of the degree of impact from invasive weed species). It provides an overall indicator of lake ecological condition. A high LakeSPI is desirable (0–20 percent, poor ecological condition; 20–50 percent, moderate ; 50–75 percent, high ecological; 75–100 percent, excellent). Non-vegetated lake status is associated with extreme lake eutrophication/deterioration.

Data calculation/treatment

Figure.NZ calculated the relevant summary statistics to mirror the data presented in the Environmental Reporting Series (see Figure 1)

Limitations of the data

Since 2007, 210 lakes have been surveyed. This is a very small percentage of lakes in New Zealand, so we advise caution when interpreting results as they may not be representative of all lakes.

Data provided by

Ministry for the Environment

Dataset name

Environmental Reporting: Lake Submerged Plant Index 1991–2016


How to find the data

At URL provided, select 'Download' from the top right of the screen. You will have to register to download this dataset.

Import & extraction details

File as imported: Environmental Reporting: Lake Submerged Plant Index 1991–2016

From the dataset Environmental Reporting: Lake Submerged Plant Index 1991–2016, this data was extracted:

  • Sheet: Sheet1
  • Range: B4:C8
  • Provided: 10 data points

This data forms the table Environmental - Ecological condition of lakes based on Lake Submerged Plant Index 2007–2016.

Dataset originally released on:

April 26, 2017

Purpose of collection

Submerged plants are good indicators of the ecological quality of lakes. Because they are attached to the bed of lakes, submerged plants are easy to observe and identify, and they are unable to move away from environmental changes. The plant species found within lakes can tell us about their level of habitat degradation and exotic weed invasion.

Method of collection/Data provider

The lake submerged plant index (LakeSPI) uses observations of aquatic plants collected by trained divers, scuba divers, and snorkellers using standardised methods (de Winton et al, 2012).
Information on submerged plants’ structure and composition is used to calculate three indexes (de Winton et al, 2012).