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Biodiversity Strategy Funding Package

More Biodiversity Funds For Auckland

The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee has announced that the Department's Auckland Conservancy will be spending an extra $894,375 this year on protecting the region’s biodiversity as a result of the Government's Biodiversity Strategy funding package.

The Government committed in the June Budget an extra $187 million to biodiversity protection over the next five years, from 2000–2005. In the first year, the Department of Conservation receives an extra $12 million, including more than $2 million to assist protection of biodiversity on private land. The Department’s extra funding increases progressively over the five years, to $48 million in 2005.

Ms Lee welcomed the additional funding for the region and said it would significantly boost the conservation work being done this year.

She said the extra funding was a welcome contribution to the conservation needs of Auckland and its surroundings.

More than $100,000 will go to animal pest control on Great Barrier Island and in the Hunua Ranges, while a further $216,000 has been allocated to pest eradications on islands, $106,875 to the lorikeet project, and $7,800 to the eradication of argentine ants on Tiritiri Matangi.

$81,000 will go to the prevention of pest animal invasions on islands, which are one of the most significant features of the Auckland Region. Weed issues in Auckland will also be addressed through a $50,600 allocation to weed control.”

She said Auckland’s unique maritime environment was recognised by the recent establishment of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Protection of this marine environment has also received a significant injection of money. About $236,000 has been allocated to marine reserve management and establishment in the region.

Ms Lee said the funding provided would contribute substantially to the protection of marine biodiversity in the region.

She said a further $106,000 will be spent on brown teal protection on Great Barrier Island, conservation of Hector’s dolphin along the west coast of the North Island, and conservation of freshwater ecosystems.


New Biodiversity Funds For Bay Of Plenty


The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee has announced that the Department's Bay of Plenty Conservancy will be spending an extra $75,375 this year on protecting the region’s biodiversity as a result of the Government's Biodiversity funding package.

The Government committed in the June Budget an extra $187 million to biodiversity protection over the next five years, from 2000–2005. In the first year, the Department of Conservation receives an extra $12 million, including more than $2 million to assist protection of biodiversity on private land. The Department’s extra funding increases progressively over the five years, to $48 million in 2005.

Ms Lee welcomed the additional funding for the region and said it would significantly boost the conservation work being done this year.

She said the extra funding was a welcome contribution to the conservation needs of the Bay of Plenty and its surroundings.

"The Tuhua (Mayor Island) rat and cat eradication, which was the major Bay of Plenty biodiversity funding project for 2000/2001 at $31,500, has been completed to budget and deadline, " said Ms Lee.

"Early monitoring suggests that the operation has been a success. If long term checks confirm this, it will have been one of the largest island eradication projects in the country and the first to simultaneously eradicate kiore, Norway rats and cats."

She said the Tuhua eradication project was the start of an exciting series of projects that would help to restore biodiversity to the Bay of Plenty.

"Island pest eradication projects are planned for Moutohora (Whale Island) and Mokoia Island as well, as a result of the additional biodiversity funding," Ms Lee said.


New Biodiversity Funding For Canterbury

The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee has announced that the Department's Canterbury Conservancy will be spending an extra $392,000 this year on protecting the region’s unique animals and plants as a result of the Government's Biodiversity Strategy funding package.

The Government committed in the June Budget an extra $187 million to biodiversity protection over the next five years, from 2000–2005. In the first year, the Department of Conservation receives an extra $12 million, including more than $2 million to assist protection of biodiversity on private land. The Department’s extra funding increases progressively over the five years, to $48 million in 2005.

Ms Lee welcomed the additional funding for the region and said it would significantly boost the conservation work being done this year.

“Much of this money - $57,000 - will go towards management and biological monitoring work at Pohatu, one of New Zealand’ s newest marine reserves near Akaroa on Banks Peninsula,” said Ms Lee.

Pohatu Marine Reserve extends from Redcliffe Point to Ounu-hau Point (Gateway Point), and covers an area of 218 hectares. It was named Pohatu in recognition of the ancient pa site at the head of the bay and was officially opened 4 July 1999. A baseline survey of marine life within the reserve and collection of data on habitats by side scan sonar techniques will benefit from the funding.

“Pohatu was established to help protect aquatic wild life and habitat, including the endangered white flippered penguin,” said Ms Lee. “It’s the first Marine Reserve for Canterbury, and indeed for the East Coast of the South Island”.

Extra funding will cover the costs of running the Pohatu Marine Advisory Committee set up to provide the Minister of Conservation with advice on management issues. It will also allow for compliance monitoring in the reserve as well as training in law enforcement for rangers.

“As a marine reserve, Pohatu will become an important attraction and a valued place for education and science,” she says. “Community support, understanding and co-operation are essential to manage and look after this reserve.”

Pohatu Marine Reserve is the 15th reserve in the country. The reserve typifies the varied coastal environment of Banks Peninsula with spectacular cliffs, rocky platforms, islands, reef and sand flat features and marine communities.

New Biodiversity Funds For East Coast-Hawkes Bay
The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee has announced that the Department's East Coast-Hawke’s Bay Conservancy will be spending an extra $232,760 this year on protecting the region’s biodiversity as a result of the Government's Biodiversity Strategy funding package.

The Government committed in the June Budget an extra $187 million to biodiversity protection over the next five years, from 2000-2005. In the first year, the Department of Conservation receives an extra $12 million, including more than $2 million to assist protection of biodiversity on private land. The Department’s extra funding increases progressively over the five years, to $48 million in 2005.

Ms Lee has welcomed the additional funding for the region and said it would significantly boost the conservation work being done this year.

She said animal and plant pests would be targeted in the East Coast/Hawke’s Bay Conservancy. Major projects include fencing of an area of Te Urewera National Park boundary to prevent incursion by stock from neighbouring land, and intensive ground and aerial hunting of goats in the park. Both projects will provide protection for indigenous species in the park which include rare plants such as kowhai ngutukaka (kaka beak).

Pypgrass in Hawke’s Bay, lagarosiphon in Lake Waikaremoana, and wilding pines in the Galatea area are some of the many weed species which will be targeted. Weed control work will take place at Gray’s Bush, Motu Scenic Reserve and Whangaokena (East Island). The entire conservancy weed programme will benefit from inventory, surveillance and database work which will also be undertaken with the extra funding.

Over $84,375 of the extra funding will have a marine reserve focus with extra management funding going to Te Tapuwae o Rongokako and Te Angiangi Marine Reserves. Approval has also been given for a project to investigate public interest and opportunities to establish a new marine reserve along the coastline between Hicks Bay and Opotiki.


New Biodiversity funds for Nelson and Marlborough


The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee has announced that the Department's Nelson-Marlborough Conservancy will be spending an extra $700,000 this year on protecting the region’s unique animals and plants as a result of the Government's Biodiversity Strategy funding package.

The Government committed in the June Budget an extra $187 million to biodiversity protection over the next five years, from 2000–2005. In the first year, the Department of Conservation receives an extra $12 million, including more than $2 million to assist protection of biodiversity on private land. The Department’s extra funding increases progressively over the five years, to $48 million in 2005.

Ms Lee has welcomed the additional funding for the region and said it would significantly boost the conservation work being done this year.

“The bulk of this money – around $630,000 - will go towards pest control including against possums, weeds and pest freshwater fish,” Ms Lee said.

“This work is vital if we are to retain the biodiversity of our natural areas. The Nelson/ Marlborough Conservancy has the largest diversity of natural values among any of the 13 conservancies in New Zealand, and pest control work is needed to protect these values.

“One area, in particular, in which the extra funding will help us make a difference is in and around Kahurangi National Park. The park contains native plant and snail species that are unique to the area and animal pest and weed control work will help us protect these threatened special species.”

The additional biodiversity money will fund the following work in the Nelson/Marlborough Conservancy this year:

 Close to $190,000 will be spent on weed removal and control. Climbing spindleberry and Madeira vine are being targeted in Golden Bay and in areas of the Marlborough Sounds including Clova and North West Bays and Resolution Inlet. This work will be done in conjunction with the Tasman and Marlborough District Councils.

 Weeds, mainly Old Man’s Beard and Buddleia, will also be removed from the Isolated Hill Scenic Reserve in Marlborough which has high conservation importance. Other weed control work will take place on Nelson’s Boulder Bank, at Gouland Downs in Kahurangi National Park and on Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds.

 Improvements will be made to systems for preventing rodents getting onto the around 20 predator-free islands in the Marlborough Sounds. These islands have high conservation importance because of their predator-free status and a number are used as safe havens for some of New Zealand’s most endangered species such as the kakapo, takahe and tuatara. The additional funding will allow more frequent checks of traps on islands and improvements to methods for ensuring predators are not brought onto the island in visitors’ bags or with supplies.

 The Conservancy has received an extra $440,000 for animal pest control work, primarily in the Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Parks. Chamois and goats are being targeted to the west of the Karamea River in the central area of Kahurangi National Park to prevent their spread further into the park and to protect rare and unique plants. Operations are also being conducted against possums in the Parapara Peak area west of Takaka and in the Leslie area on the western side of the Arthur Range. This will help protect rare snails and plants. In the Canaan area of the Abel Tasman National Park predators including possums, rats and mice are being targeted to protect giant land snails, forest and rare mistletoes.

 Funding will assist the survival of the critically endangered Paturau Snail, a sub-species of the native Powelliphanta snail genus. The Paturau Snail is unique to north west Nelson and struggling to survive in its last remaining habitat - a coastal forest area of only one third of a hectare. It is estimated that there are only 200 Paturau Snails left. The extra biodversity funds will be used to intensify predator control in a bid to increase the population to around 400. It is hoped that if the snail numbers reach this level that in a few years time some can be transferred to two other nearby sites, increasing the species’ chances of survival. Predator control work as well as revegetation planting will also be carried out at the two sites being prepared for the snails. Predators to be targeted include rats, mice, hedgehogs, thrushes, stoats and possums.

 Funding has been provided for genetic research on a South Marlborough plant Cheesemania “Chalk Range”, commonly known as chalk cress. The research will determine whether it is a separate species to other types of Cheesemania and confirm how seriously threatened it is. A survey last year found only 16 plants of Cheesemania “Chalk Range” whereas five years ago there had been 48. If the DNA research establishes that it is a separate species then it will be confirmed as critically endangered and urgent steps will be taken to protect the few remaining plants. This Cheesemania plant is found only in the Chalk Range and adjacent limestone areas in inland Marlborough. It grows up to 15cm tall and has the appearance of a small palm tree with its leathery strap-like leaves forming a rosette.

 Funding has also been provided for action against pest freshwater fish in the Tasman district. This follows the discovery of koi carp, Gambusia/mosquitofish, rudd and tench in the region this year. The funding is being used for searches of ponds in the Tasman Bay area for pest fish and for eradication plans for any unwanted fish found.

 More than $18,000 has been given for mapping and monitoring of ecological changes in the Tonga Island Marine Reserve.


New Biodiversity Funds For Otago


The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee has announced that the Department's Otago Conservancy will be spending an extra $343,000 this year on protecting the region’s unique animals and plants as a result of a Government funding package.

The Government committed in the June Budget an extra $187 million to biodiversity protection over the next five years, from 2000–2005. In the first year, the Department of Conservation receives an extra $12 million, including more than $2 million to assist protection of biodiversity on private land. The Department’s extra funding increases progressively over the five years, to $48 million in 2005.

Ms Lee welcomed the additional funding for the region and said it would significantly boost the conservation work being done this year.

“Most of the money allocated to Otago will be spent on work on animal pests, weeds, and species protection”, Ms Lee said. In the animal pests area, money had been granted for additional thar control in the mountains to the west of the Haast Highway, and a small number of radio-collared Judas thar would be released in that area.

"There was also money for goat control in the Catlins, with the objective of preventing goats invading forests in the Thisbe area, which is a stronghold of the threatened mohua, or yellowhead, " she said.

Funding would also go to monitoring and possum control work in the head of the Siberia Valley and the East Matukituki Valley, Mount Aspiring National Park, to protect two rare occurrences of mountain cedar. These trees are very sensitive to possum browsing, since they have little or no capacity to re-sprout from damaged branches, and once the greater part of their foliage is damaged they cannot recover.

“The additional money will allow weed inventory work to continue, and it provides for control of Buck’s Horn plantain at Chapman Road Scientific Reserve, near Alexandra, where weeds are threatening the survival of rare salt-tolerant plants,” said Ms Lee.

In the species protection area, a major survey of Otago galaxiids (native fish) will be carried out to determine the distribution and range of the species in Central Otago.


New Biodiversity Funds For Waikato


The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee has announced that the Department’s Waikato Conservancy will be spending another $1.13m this year on protecting the region’s biodiversity as a result of the Government's Biodiversity Strategy funding package.

The Government committed in the June Budget an extra $187 million to biodiversity protection over the next five years, from 2000–2005. In the first year, the Department of Conservation receives an extra $12 million, including more than $2 million to assist protection of biodiversity on private land. The Department’s extra funding increases progressively over the five years, to $48 million in 2005.

Ms Lee welcomed the additional funding for the region and said it would significantly boost the conservation work being done in the region this year.

Most of the funding allocated will go to the northern Coromandel Peninsula, which is one of five areas to be established as a Kiwi Sanctuary this year.

Ms Lee said the Conservancy has been allocated $616,000 this financial year to carry out an extensive survey of the present kiwi population, establish the Kiwi Zone, and to plan and undertake predator control work.

“The northern Coromandel Peninsula, particularly around Moehau, is recognised as one of the five most important areas of New Zealand for kiwi protection, together with Northland, Tongariro/Wanganui and the Okarito and Haast areas of the South Island’s West Coast.

“The Department of Conservation has already put a huge effort into conservation management of the Moehau area over several years and this new funding for the Kiwi Zone complements that. Work has already begun on the inventory, with at least 143 kiwi located, 100 of which are thought to be males. The males are noisier, and therefore easier to locate. We expect that most of them will be paired up, so results to date are most encouraging.”
The Hauraki Area has also received additional funding of $169,000 for several other Biodiversity projects, including weed pest control at Tairua and on Coromandel off-shore islands, and for fish monitoring in Te Whanganui-A-Hei marine reserve, near Whitianga.

An additional $270,000 will be spent in the Waikato and King Country areas on projects including weed and pest control, and Hector's dolphin research.


More Biodiversity Funds For Wanganui


The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee has announced that the Department’s Wanganui Conservancy will be spending an extra $157,000 this year on protecting the region’s unique animals and plants as a result of the Government's Biodiversity Strategy funding package.

The Government committed in the June Budget an extra $187 million to biodiversity protection over the next five years, from 2000–2005. In the first year, the Department of Conservation receives an extra $12 million, including more than $2 million to assist protection of biodiversity on private land. The Department’s extra funding increases progressively over the five years, to $48 million in 2005.

Ms Lee welcomed the additional funding for the region and said it would significantly boost the conservation work being done this year.

“More then half of this funding will be invested in the Palmerston North area, allowing staff to carry out programmes which would otherwise not have been able to take place, including trying to save an endangered daisy in the Manawatu from possible extinction,” said Ms Lee.

About a third of the $90,000 allocated to Palmerston North, will go towards rare plant protection programmes, including the endangered daisy Celmisia "Mangaweka". This daisy is only known at one site, and unfortunately the plant’s home is eroding at a rate that would see Celmisia disappear in ten years.

A five-year programme has been initiated to try and improve the outlook for this special plant. The programme will identify site characteristics and try to find other, similar sites, and plant transfer to encourage an alternative population of plants, she said.

Another rare plant which will benefit is Acaena rorida, a piripiri endemic to the Mangaohane plateau. It has a tiny range and is threatened by advancing weeds. DOC will identify what sort of area the plant covers, assess the threat posed by the weeds, and plan ways of managing the plant in the future.


Small-scaled skinks haven’t been forgotten either, with more than $20,000 set aside to search for more populations, and to assess what sort of homes they prefer. DOC staff will monitor known populations to determine the size and age structure of populations as well as the level of migration occurring between groups. The impact of both predators and livestock grazing will also be taken into account.

Weed control gets a $14,500 injection, and White Bryony and Old Man’s Beard will be likely targets. They both pose a tremendous threat to native plants with their ‘smothering’ growth pattern. White Bryony is a relatively new plant “pest” in that it was only identified as growing in New Zealand in 1991, and is known at only two sites in NZ. White bryony berries are very palatable to birds, and the plant has the ability to spread very quickly.

However, it is still possible to eradicate White Bryony, (unlike Old Man’s Beard, which is firmly entrenched,) and efforts will focus on this end goal. The largest area of infestation is around Mokai Station, which is uncomfortably close to Ruahine Forest Park and Makino Scenic Reserve, said Ms Lee.


More Biodiversity Funds For Wellington And The Chatham Islands

The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee has announced that the Department's Wellington Conservancy will be spending an extra $305,000 this year on protecting the region’s unique animals and plants as a result of the Government's Biodiversity Strategy funding package.

The Government committed in the June Budget an extra $187 million to biodiversity protection over the next five years, from 2000–2005. In the first year, the Department of Conservation receives an extra $12 million, including more than $2 million to assist protection of biodiversity on private land. The Department’s extra funding increases progressively over the five years, to $48 million in 2005.

Ms Lee has welcomed the additional funding for the region and said it would significantly boost the conservation work being done this year.

“Much of this money – around $100,000 -- will go towards protecting and restoring biodiversity on the Chatham Islands,” Ms Lee said. “The Chatham Islands contain many species that occur nowhere else on earth and some of these species remain critically endangered. Resources will be targeted to controlling weeds and preventing rodents from reaching vulnerable sites. An additional $42,000 will be used to locate and protect breeding burrows of the Chatham Island taiko, of which there are fewer than ten known breeding pairs.”

Ms Lee said another $100,000 would also help the Department keep rodents off numerous island sanctuaries. Wellington Conservancy manages five rodent-free islands, including Matiu/Somes Island in Wellington Harbour, and Kapiti Island. The successful rodent eradication on Kapiti Island in 1996 remains the largest such operation undertaken in New Zealand to date. “This new money will help us to keep rats and mice off these precious island through providing rodent-proof store rooms, permanent bait stations and signs and brochures to explain rodent-proofing measures.”

The additional biodiversity money will also fund the following work to control weeds, noxious fish and to monitor species in Wellington Conservancy this year:
 Close to $19,300 will be spent targeting weeds in numerous places, including Mana Island, which is one of the main ecological restoration sites in the Wellington Conservancy. Other weed control will take place at Turakirae Head, Pencarrow Lakes and Hemi Matenga Scenic Reserve. Weed surveys will be undertaken at key sites on the Kapiti Coast and in the Wairarapa.
 $10,400 will be spent surveying the distribution of pest fish including rudd, tench, perch and mosquito fish. This is the first step in looking at ways to reduce the impacts of these fish on native freshwater ecosystems.
 $16,400 will enable a contractor to monitor the small populations of brown teal recently released on Mana and Kapiti islands.


New Biodiversity Funding For West Coast Kiwi
The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee has announced that the Department's West Coast Conservancy will be spending an extra $816,000 this year on protecting the region’s unique animals and plants as a result of the Government's Biodiversity funding package.

The Government committed in the June Budget an extra $187 million to biodiversity protection over the next five years, from 2000–2005. In the first year, the Department of Conservation receives an extra $12 million, including more than $2 million to assist protection of biodiversity on private land. The Department’s extra funding increases progressively over the five years, to $48 million in 2005.

Ms Lee welcomed the additional funding for the region and said it would significantly boost the conservation work being done this year.

"The funding will be spent mainly on protecting two species of kiwi – the tokoeka at Haast in South Westland, and the Okarito Brown Kiwi (rowi) at Franz Josef," said Ms Lee. The Haast project receives $190,500 and the Franz Josef project receives almost $436,000.

Some of the money will be used to compile the first accurate picture of the Haast kiwi numbers and the birds' survival prospects.

Tokoeka (meaning weka with a walking stick) are found mostly in the rugged alpine areas near Haast.

It is estimated that only 250 tokoeka exist but very little is known about the species. In summer, tokoeka are found in the sub-alpine and alpine tussock lands near Haast but nothing at all is known about their winter habitat.

Ms Lee said the extra biodiversity funding meant that more staff would be employed to help determine whether the existing tokoeka population is viable and how much human intervention is needed to ensure its continuing survival.

"This is going to unravel one of the most elusive wildlife mysteries in the world and at the same time it will ensure that this beautiful and rare icon is given a real future, Ms Lee said. "A tracking network is to be established, along with huts, in a survey area to allow monitoring to take place."

Ms Lee said the Department of Conservation would use the survey information to create an operational plan that might involve the removal of eggs and chicks to controlled rearing areas in Hokitika and Motuara Island in the Marlborough Sounds.

She said the Department might also need to implement extensive predator controls to assist natural breeding in the habitat area through the elimination of stoats and cats.

"The world's rarest kiwi has an increased chance of survival now on its home turf near Franz Josef in South Westland, thanks to the Government's Biodiversity Strategy funding for kiwi management," the Conservation Minister said.

Ms Lee said $368,000 would go to protecting new born rowi chicks inside the Okarito Forest by creating a 10km square stoat-free-zone to protect an estimated remnant population of only about 200.

Details of the predator control programme inside the sanctuary are still being finalised by some of the best experts in New Zealand but it is likely to involve control points stationed 500 metres apart in lines totalling about 200kms in length.

"Rowi are the rarest of our kiwi species and now they have a real chance at survival inside their natural habitat without the need to move eggs and chicks to secure rearing areas," Ms Lee said.

"The Rowi have always been dear to my heart as they are part of Te Tai o Poutini as am I and my people," she said.

The Department of Conservation is also using the funding to step up its rowi monitoring programme at Okarito using miniature radio transmitters to track breading pairs and new born chicks.

Ms Lee said the increased funding will double current monitoring bringing the total to 30 chicks and 50 pairs. Funding will enable the further study of forest ecology and response to the reduction of predators.

The Department of Conservation plans to appoint two additional full-time and two seasonal staff as part of the programme.


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