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More regions acting on erosion control with extra funding


8 August 2018

More regions acting on erosion control with extra funding awarded

The Ministry for Primary Industries has welcomed two South Island councils, Nelson City and Marlborough District, into the Hill Country Erosion Fund (HCEF) following a special funding ‘boost’ round held in June.

“The extra $1.7 million and broader criteria has succeeded in getting more councils doing this work, treating affected land and preventing erosion in prone areas. Every tree they plant makes a difference in reducing the many costs of erosion, as well as the wider benefits of trees in our landscapes,” said Julie Collins, Head of Te Uru Rākau Forestry New Zealand.

Greater Wellington, Horizons and Northland regional councils also benefited from the fund.

The extra funding was announced earlier in the year as part of Budget 2018 Announcements. This saw MPI announcing several changes including:

• Inviting all regions to apply to the ‘boost’ round in June 2018, for 2018-19 planting
• Adding alpine and coastal erosion areas to eligibility
• Removing the 5 hectare limit on areas that can be treated.

The broadened criteria will also apply in the regular (four-yearly) funding round due to open in October, which also has an increase in funding with $34 million available.

“This year’s enhancements bring a virtually four-fold increase over previous rounds. The more we can invest now, the better the long-term outcomes are going to be for those communities and landowners,” Julie Collins said.

“By backing regional investment in sustainable land management practices, this fund enables local councils and landowners to design and implement solutions locally, in keeping with their economic, social and environmental goals,” Julie Collins said.

Projects funded from the 2018 Hill Country Erosion Fund ‘boost’ round:

Nelson City Council (new participant)
• Tree planting on erosion-prone land
• Strengthening expertise for both landowners and within Council
• Sustainable land management planning pilot programme

Marlborough District Council (new participant)
• Land assessment and management planning
• Strengthening expertise for both landowners and within Council

Greater Wellington Regional Council
• Tree planting on erosion-prone land
• Expand existing erosion control work
• Strengthen land advisory services to achieve the right trees in the right places

Northland Regional Council
• Tree planting and soil conservation to protect erosion-prone land
• Undertake analysis and assessment work relating to ongoing soil conservation activities

Horizons Regional Council
• Pole planting of poplars and willows on storm damaged land in Ruapehu District
• Planting in riparian zones on approximately 500 hectares of hill country
• Assessments of eligibility of plantings of willow and poplar poles planted for erosion control for entry into Emissions Trading Scheme

The applications were assessed by subject matter experts at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and also by cross agency advisory panel with a range of skills and experience including from MPI, the Ministry for the Environment, Te Puni Kokiri, AgResearch and Landcare Research.

Trees planted through the HCEF contribute to the Government’s one billion trees target.

Background
Loss of productive land through erosion has a significant impact on the environment. The HCEF is a partnership between MPI, regional councils and landowners. The focus of the funding is for:

• Treatment of erosion-prone land where the main treatment is tree planting, including appropriate species for natural vegetative cover.
• Implementing sustainable land management practices
• Projects in coastal, alpine or hill country areas (previously only targeted at hill country regions).

The HCEF began in 2007/08 and is baseline funded to $2.2m per year. Funding is contested in a four-yearly cycle, aligned with planning cycles for regional councils. The last funding round was in 2014, with a value of $8.8million.

Over the past 11 years six regional councils have partnered with the HCEF to deliver successful projects. MPI has funded $8.78 million dollars into this erosion control work and a further $35.7 million was contributed by regional councils and landowners. See case studies at the MPI website.

For more details for the HCEF and other funding programmes visit www.mpi.govt.nz/funding-and-programmes

ENDS

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