Check Clean Dry banner image

ECan - Check, Clean, Dry campaign

Looking after lakes and waterways in the Mackenzie District.

Love our lakesPicture this: it’s a hot summer day and you’re preparing for a refreshing dip in your favourite swimming spot, but you notice there’s something disturbing the surface of the water. Unfortunately, since the last time you visited, the waterway has become infested with an aquatic weed. Someone used their kayak in a nearby lake and forgot to check their equipment before using it at your swimming spot. Now you will have to try and enjoy your swim with weeds getting caught around your arms and legs.

Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg. We all know how horrible didymo is when it’s in bloom, but what happens if more aquatic weeds spread through our waterways? They not only affect our enjoyment and safety out on the water, but ruin valuable ecosystems by inhibiting growth of native water plants and reducing likely spawning areas for many types of fish.

Some of the aquatic pest species present in New Zealand exist within Canterbury, but many of our lakes and rivers remain pest-free. To help keep it this way, it's important that equipment and vessels are properly cleaned and decontaminated before entering any waterway. High risk species are those that are microscopic, so even if you can't see it, it's a threat.

The Ministry for Primary Industries, facilitated by the NZ Freshwater Biosecurity Partnership, leads the national ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ (CCC) programme, with the aim to raise awareness and stop the spread of freshwater pests.

  • CHECK - Check boats, trailers and anything else that was in the water, including your dog’s paws if your dog is in the water with you, for any plant material and remove it. Even if the plant appears dry and dead, it may still survive and start a new infestation. Leave debris at the site or, if you find any later, treat and dispose of it in the rubbish. Do not wash down drains.
  • CLEAN - Wash all equipment (eg, nets, machinery, footwear and clothing) thoroughly with an appropriate decontamination solution before putting it in any new water way.
  • DRY - If you can't clean your gear or animals, restrict use to a single waterway OR dry completely to the touch inside and out, and leave to dry for at least another 48 hours. Particular attention needs to be given to those users who are moving between different waterbodies, catchments, regions and islands with the same vessels and/or equipment.

We need everyone to help to promote the CCD message out in the community and be advocates for keeping our freshwater pest free.

This summer, Environment Canterbury, who is the regional lead for the CCD programme, has two Freshwater Biosecurity Advocates on board. They will work through the busy Christmas period at popular holiday spots across the region to speak with freshwater users. The Advocates, Alison Spera and Cameron Caudwell, have also worked with clubs, outdoor retailers, event organisers and have reached out to district councils to provide information and cleaning packs.

You can help the programme too!

Look after your own gear and equipment but remind others about the need to CCD as well. People are happy to undertake the necessary steps to CCD if they understand what’s at stake, and if they receive a friendly reminder. CCD involves a simple set of actions relevant to all freshwater users, which includes anyone who works around waterways, uses them recreationally, or even just crosses through them. If you are frequently moving between waterways, you must Check, Clean, Dry.

Visit Environment Canterbury’s CCD page for instructions, and if you are interested in helping out with this campaign or would like further information, email