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Environment Enhancement Fund grant

August 15, 2008

MEDIA STATEMENT

Last two weeks to apply for an Environment Enhancement Fund grant; Mid Canterbury, Hinds case study

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. Funding is announced in December.

This year ECan has $237,800 available - $180,000 from Environment Canterbury’s Environment Enhancement Fund, and another $57,800 from the Honda TreeFund.

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. Applicants may apply more than once.

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 funding programme are available from Environment Canterbury’s website on www.ecan.govt.nz/eef or by calling Customer Services, 0800 EC INFO
(0800 324 636).


EEF grant helps Mid Canterbury farmer “do the right thing”

Hinds sharemilker Ben Stock says a desire to “do the right thing” was a key motivator behind his decision to fence off and enhance plantings along a spring-fed drain in Mid Canterbury.

“I wanted to do my bit and to tidy up a drain with road frontage as well,” he explains.

“We were spending $1000 a year cleaning the drains out and I felt that if riparian zones do what they’re supposed to do, like creating a nice flowing waterway, I would be able to reduce what I spend and help the environment.”

Ben Stock is applying for his third round of funding through the Environment Enhancement Fund (EEF), having successfully received grants in 2006 and 2007.

The area he is targeting is along Boundary Drain, which is a spring-fed system that has been made part of ECan’s Living Streams programme. Most of its water comes from unconfined aquifers, with the balance coming from the extensive drainage network and irrigation waters in the area.

The catchment size is around 2,800 hectares, and Boundary Drain is considered significant as it is one of the only systems in the area with a permanent opening to the sea. Investigations have shown, that like many streams in the area, Boundary Drain has an excess of fine sediment entering the catchment and one of the sources of this is stock access to waterways. ECan’s Living Streams project identified that it is necessary to remove stock access to the river to maintain a healthy state, and that a riparian planting programme would significantly help water quality.

The area targeted covers about one kilometre of the drain, with both sides being fenced and planted to a depth of between two to three metres wide.

In the first year they carried out major planting, but were disappointed to lose many plants, thanks to a dry season, Ben Stock says.

“The second year we replanted with the varieties that had survived and we had lots of rain and that’s kept them going. A dry season can make it pretty difficult.

“Getting the planting done and keeping up with the spraying is a lot of work and it coincides with our busy time of the year.”

Despite the effort involved on his part, he is keen on the work of the EEF. “I still think it’s a great thing and I will continue doing it.” He says it is important to set out a manageable project for your first attempt, so you get a feel for what is involved, as the first few years do require a fair amount of work.

His second stage of planting has been much more successful, thanks to rain, extra labour input and sticking with the plant species that survived well during the dry first year.

The work on his sharemilker property on the Boundary Drain has also inspired him to get planting on a nearby property that his and wife have bought in Mid Canterbury, and he expects more EEF applications from him in the future.


ENDS

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