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Applications invited for conservation grants

11 August 2004

Applications invited for conservation grants

Farmers, community groups and others are invited to apply for funds to promote and care for plant and animal life on private land, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs and Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today.

The Biodiversity Condition and Advice Funds were established as part of the government’s $187 million five-year biodiversity package in 2000. The contestable funding programmes are designed to help private landowners maintain native species values on their land.

There will be two bidding rounds this financial year totalling $4.1 million. The first opened on 9 August and closes on 27 September, with decisions announced before Christmas. The second round will be notified in the first quarter of 2005, with decisions announced by 30 June.

"We are committed to ensuring protection for our native plants and animals – New Zealand's unique biodiversity," Marian Hobbs said. "The funds support the great work private landowners are doing already for our special areas and species."

Mr Carter said that examples abounded of individuals and groups around the country with innovative ideas for conservation work on their land.

So far, examples of projects funded include predator trapping in Northland, pest eradication on Great Barrier Island, fencing at Lake Rotoehu, fencing and pest control in Makaretu Stream near Gisborne, controlling wilding pines in North Canterbury, and eradicating rats from Southern Titi Islands near Rakiura/Stewart Island.

Background information follows:

Biodiversity Condition Fund: aims to improve and maintain the condition of areas of native vegetation, species and habitats, including wetlands and water bodies. The fund seeks to broaden community effort in managing native species biodiversity, outside public conservation lands, and particularly areas under legal protection. Projects could involve, for example, fencing.

Biodiversity Advice Fund: supports the provision of information and advice to land owners to assist them in managing indigenous biodiversity. The funds provides assistance with providing information and advice on biodiversity and includes projects such as field days, expert advice, publications, training, and seminars.

Examples of projects: http://www.beehive.govt.nz/Documents/Files/Biodiversity%20Grants%202004%20-%20regional%20details.pdf

Criteria: Applications to the Condition Fund are assessed against 10 criteria, including the biodiversity values involved, their representativeness and rarity, likely project outcomes, project feasibility, and threats to values to be protected. Many such areas are already protected by covenants by the QEII National Trust and a landowner contribution to the project is normally expected. Where areas are not protected by covenants, funds are generally allocated, subject to a satisfactory management agreement with the landowner.

ENDS


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