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Funding boost for biodiversity


New Zealanders enhancing biodiversity receive $1.3m funding boost

Over 100 private and community projects enhancing biodiversity throughout New Zealand have been allocated government grants totalling $1.3 million, it was announced today.

Environment Minister David Benson-Pope made the announcement while visiting Otago's Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, who received $52,000 in new funding to help save the penguin by restoring coastal forest and controlling predators.

The grants are made under the government's Biodiversity Condition and Advice Funds and supports 104 projects involving 771 landowners and community groups working on private land initiatives.

"There is a huge amount of enthusiasm by private landowners and community groups to enhance and protect areas of native flora and fauna, and it’s fantastic to be able to support these initiatives," said Mr Benson-Pope.

“Many of the fragmented areas of native bush and wetland habitats now only exist on private land. The Biodiversity Condition and Advice funds provide landowners and interested community groups with resources to look after these areas for future generations.

"I congratulate the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, who are saving the Yellow-eyed penguin by restoring coastal forest and controlling predators. While the penguin is the Trust's focus their efforts also benefit other native species of plants and animals."

Conservation Minister Chris Carter says grants include 41 fencing projects, which will protect forests, wetlands, coastal habitat and river margins. Other projects focus on pest management and trapping programmes, and private landowner education.

“These projects will assist in protecting some of New Zealand’s iconic species, including kiwi, Hutton’s shearwater, kokako and even some of our native fish,” said Mr Carter. “Twenty-three projects focus on restoration of wetlands, which is of great importance nationally, since New Zealand has lost 90 percent of its wetland areas in only 150 years.”

Both Ministers say they are impressed with the action being taken on private land, and are pleased to support such commitment to New Zealand's unique environment.

"That commitment is shown in the voluntary labour, the cash and in-kind contributions these groups and individuals are making themselves. When this is considered, the total combined spending on Biodiversity Fund projects is around $2.85 million," said Mr Benson-Pope.

The contestable funds were established under the Government's $187 million Biodiversity Strategy Package in 2000. The next funding round is now open for applications. People should visit www.biodiversity.govt.nz, or call 0800 86 20 20 for further information.

Ends

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