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Apply now for an Environment Enhancement grant

August 3, 2006

Apply now for an Environment Enhancement grant

Landowners or groups working to protect and enhance native biodiversity in Canterbury have until the end of August to apply for contestable grants of up to $5,000 through Environment Canterbury’s Environment Enhancement Fund.

This year the Fund has nearly $200,000 available for grants - $150,000 from Environment Canterbury’s Environment Enhancement Fund, and just under $50,000 from the Honda TreeFund. This is the first year that the Honda TreeFund has been available through this programme. “It is very exciting to include the Honda TreeFund, as it is allowing us to extend the type of projects that we can support,” says Donna Woodley, ECan resource care co-ordinator.

“Until this year, projects on public land have been ineligible for funding, but the Honda TreeFund will allow us to support community-led native plantings on public land.”

Donna Woodley says financial assistance can be granted for any project that contributes to the region's indigenous biodiversity and usually involves the protection or enhancement of waterways, wetlands, coastal dunes and native vegetation. “Many people are working hard to improve the environment on their properties, but they do not realise they are eligible for financial support,” she says.

Last year 57 projects received funding to plant, fence and restore more than 350 hectares of native bush, 41 hectares of wetlands, 35 kilometres of waterway and five hectares of coastal lagoon throughout the region.

The chairman of Environment Canterbury’s land and biodiversity portfolio, Cr
Ross Little, says the number of applications received each year, since the inception five years ago, has been steadily growing. “This is good news, especially in the light of the general intensification of land use. The fact that landowners are prepared to put some land aside and spend time, money and labour on its protection, shows that the awareness of conservation values amongst land owners has increased dramatically over recent years".

The Environment Enhancement Fund provides grants for usually no more than 50 percent of a project’s total cost. Application forms and further information on the programme are available from Environment Canterbury’s website on www.ecan.co.nz/eef or by calling Customer Services, 0800 EC INFO (0800 324 636).

See the following for information on previous grant recipients, sorted by region: If you would like to speak to any of them please contact Donna Woodley, Environmment Canterbury Resouce Care Co-ordinator on 03 365 3828.
North Canterbury

- The Millars – Culverden
- Jim Hazlett – Waiau
- Oxford Year 2000 Walkways – Oxford
South Canterbury
- Garythe Evans - Waimate

Mid Canterbury
- The Davidsons, Ashburton

Honda TreeFund
 Avon-Heathcote Estuary/ Ihutai Trust, Sandy Point, Southshore, Christchurch
 Timaru South School

North Canterbury
The Millars – Culverden
Evan and Noeline Millar received their Environment Enhancement Fund grant in 2003 and used it to fence and plant two branches of Cold Stream, which runs through their property.

“We used the money from the Environment Enhancement Fund to put two wire electric fences around the area to keep stock away from the stream. Since then we have seen a huge improvement in the water quality of Cold Stream – from average to crystal clear.

“There are also more fish living in the stream and the native planting has attracted larger numbers of birds. The fund paid for the fencing and has given us the start to continue ongoing work and maintaining the three kilometres of stream which has already been enhanced.”

The fencing combined with the planting of hardy native bush along Cold Stream at the Millars’ property has given a huge benefit to the area. As well as protecting the area from stock the fencing has prevented run-off into the stream and made a huge difference to water quality. The long grass also acts as a filter.

Evan and Noeline have used lots of hardy larger native plants because of the aggressive weeds in the area. The key with the natives is that they are planted on the north side to provide plenty of shade over the stream.

They say Cold Stream is now so clear that you can easily see trout and the gravel at the bottom whereas before it was full of weeds and slime.


Jim Hazlett - Waiau

Jim Hazlett, of Hillview Enterprises Ltd in Waiau, received funding in 2004 to help fence out 24 hectares of bush on his property. The area is protected by a QEII covenant. The project consisted of two valleys – the larger area of 17 hectares of regenerating black beech forest along with mature kanuka, and a second seven hectare area of mature kanuka forest.

“The area we enhanced using the Environment Enhancement Fund is a really special place for all of us. We have been able to preserve some lovely native bush and have named it the Geraldine Hazlett Reserve after my mother who died just before we started enhancing the area. The kids love it as it’s a dark gully and they get to see all the bellbirds that are there now.

“The fund helped us pay for the fencing which was the most essential part of establishing the covenant on our land. The covenant was part of a large area grazed by stock and by fencing it off we could protect it from any damage.

“By protecting the area we have also helped with the surrounding land which has been repastured. We want to continue to maintain and enhance the area by eliminating wild pines and gorse.”

Oxford Year 2000 Walkways - Oxford

This organisation first received funding in 2001 and then again in 2005. Their major project was a beech forest remnant called Mears Bush, which has QE11 covenant status. Gareth Harper – the organisation’s secretary - says receiving the Environment Enhancement funding meant the improvement of a walkway by removing large exotic trees (mainly Douglas fir) and to clean up and spray the area. “We then planted the area with pioneer native plant species to protect it from northwest winds. Also we have put up deer fencing and attached shade cloth to provide both shade and keep stock out,” he says.

Gareth says there is now a 20 minute loop track through the 5.5 hectares with bridges, steps, seats, picnic table and signage. “We are fortunate to have a large group of keen volunteers from the community to provide the labour to develop the walkway at Mears Bush but the Enhancement Fund has meant that we have been able to buy materials and plants necessary to make it happen.

"The walkway is a lovely place for locals and visitors alike and we are keen for as many interested people as possible to enjoy the area," he says.

South Canterbury
Garythe Evans - Waimate
Garythe Evans of Happy Valley in Waimate used the project to fence out an area of existing native bush in the Waihaorunga Valley.

“It is exciting that we have been able to create a very unique area of native bush in the Waihaoranga Valley. We have been told that there are not many remaining areas of bush left like ours,” she says.

“Our main interest is preserving the native bush because we love the native birds. The Environment Enhancement Fund grant, which we used to fence a very difficult area, gave us the impetus and enabled us to complete the project within one year, which is faster that we would have done it on our own.

“We were also lucky to have very skilled people to help us including the excellent advice we received from Dave Maslen at Environment Canterbury. “

Garythe says she hopes that in future the Waihaorunga Valley will become a resource area for local primary school children and any other interested groups.


Mid Canterbury
The Davidsons, Ashburton
Rennie and Niki Davidson have received funding to fence, plant and restore fish passage in Flints Stream and the Green Street Creek on their Mid-Canterbury property. This has been done as part of a riparian plan and the Davidsons want to ensure that their land use has as little impact on the environment as possible.

“We want to leave the area better than it was before by recreating a natural situation.

“We’ve used the Environment Enhancement Fund to enhance our wetlands area. This has attracted birdlife and we have also removed culverts and created fish ladders for the trout. The fund has been used for materials like boards, rocks and fencing materials along with a range of native plants.”

Rennie says they have been lucky to get mostly locally sourced seedlings from a Geraldine-based nursery. “So, genetically most of our plants have been grown locally hence survival is good.”

The Davidsons say they have seen kingfishers around recently and shags are now looking for fishing opportunities. Interest has also been shown by some of their neighbours who would also like to enhance their wetland and even Forest and Bird members have paid a visit.

Honda TreeFund

Christchurch
Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai Trust, Sandy Point , Southshore, Christchurch

This project is using plantings to protect bird habitat on the point from recreation activities on this CCC Reserve.

Jenny Bond, Resource Care, Environment Canterbury
“At last year’s Sandy Point community planting day we created a barrier of native plants which were supplied by the Honda TreeFund. Over time the plants will create a barrier between the wind and kite surfers who use the area for launching and the wildlife in the area. It means that surfers and the birds can operate in harmony.

”The planting will also protect the area which currently suffers from erosion. Our planting day attracted wind and kite surfers, members of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary? Ihutai Trust along with people who saw the need to enhance the area for the benefit of everyone.”

Jason Roberts, Coastal Park Ranger, Christchurch City Council
“For me Sandy Point is an exciting project because the Christchurch City Council and the recreational users are working together to enhance an area that would normally be closed off to the public because of the wildlife in the area. We have also all spent time and effort restoring and enhancing the planting in the area to stop erosion.”

South Canterbury
Timaru South School
The school is creating native plantings within the grounds to teach care and growth of the environment to pupils. They will be planting in early spring.

“As our school has expanded we have built new blocks of classrooms and we wanted a natural look for the new gardens. The teachers wanted to be involved from the start and are going to incorporate it into the pupils’ study next term.

“The children will take possession of the garden, from planning and choosing the native plants, to planting them.

“The Honda TreeFund has meant that we can afford to plant all natives and the information provided by Environment Canterbury has showed us what type of plants to use, and how large they grow so we can make wiser decisions about what we plant.

“We’re all really looking forward to planting in spring before Timaru South Schools 125th jubilee at the end of October.

“The new garden, once it grows, will provide shade in the summer and hopefully keep some of the winter frosts away.”

ENDS

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