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$1.8 mil Biofunds boost to private conservation

Hon Chris Carter
Minister of Conservation
Hon David Benson-Pope
Minister for the Environment

19 September 2006 Media Statement

$1.8 million Biofunds boost to private conservation projects

A total of 94 conservation projects run by private landowners and community groups are to receive government grants for biodiversity restoration, Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Environment Minister David Benson-Pope announced today.

The grants from the Biodiversity Condition and Advice Funds will aid in the protection of kiwi, blue duck, penguins, skinks, forest systems of kahikatea and kauri, as well as wetlands. They are part of government’s continuing support for nature protection on private land under the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy.

A total of $1.2m will be provided to 74 projects from the Biodiversity Condition Fund, which seeks to improve and maintain native species and habitats on private land. More than half a million dollars will be provided to 20 projects from the Biodiversity Advice Fund, which supports the provision of advice and information to assist with the management of native areas.

The grants will be supplemented by a further $2.6 million being contributed to the projects by landowners, local and regional government and other funding agencies. This will bring the total amount being spent on the biodiversity projects to over $4.4 million.

"We were impressed with the range of projects being funded this year and the scale of those projects associated with protection of at risk species. A high level of technical expertise is now being channelled into the implementation of biodiversity protection on private land," said Chris Carter.

"It is particularly pleasing to see the emphasis on wetland protection in this funding round. Some 16 projects involve landowners working on wetland protection or enhancement projects."

David Benson-Pope said the grants demonstrated the effort many landowners and community groups were putting in to protecting native flora and fauna on private land.

"A lot of this work goes unrecognised and these grants are one way the government can assist landowners in their projects that have conservation benefits on behalf of the public of NZ."

Today’s announcement was made from Taupo Swamp, near Porirua, which is owned by the QEII Trust, and is one of the recipients of the biofunds grants. Taupo Swamp is an extensive wetland area that has the Wellington region’s largest population of harakeke (flax). Over the last 150 years, New Zealand has lost 90% of its wetlands.

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION – BIODIVERSITY CONDITION & ADVICE FUNDS

Funding decisions for the Biodiversity Condition and Advice Funds for the August 2006 funding round have been announced by the Ministers of Environment and Conservation.

These contestable Funds were established under the Government’s 2000 $187 million Biodiversity Strategy Package in 2000. The Condition Fund aims to improve and maintain the condition of areas of native vegetation, species and habitats and also broaden community involvement in the management of the country’s indigenous biodiversity. The Advice Fund supports the provision of advice and information to assist land managers and community groups in their management of the indigenous biodiversity values on areas of private land.

Biodiversity Condition Fund
The Ministers of Environment and Conservation have announced the approval of 74 projects to enhance the condition of biodiversity on private land, totalling $1,238,456. The regional spread is outlined in the table below.

Table One: Conservancy distribution of Condition Fund applications and allocations

Region Number of Projects Approved Allocations this funding round
Northland 8 $144,112
Auckland 8 $160,387
Waikato 4 $141,802
Bay of Plenty 4 $114,405
East Coast / Hawkes Bay 20 $119,751
Taranaki / Wanganui 4 $143,030
Wellington 5 $78,399
Nelson 12 $132,540
Canterbury 3 $34,864
West Coast 1 $20,000
Otago 2 $52,107
Southland 2 $42,510
Chatham Islands 1 $54,550

Biodiversity Advice Fund
The Ministers of Environment and Conservation have announced the approval of 20 projects to assist and provide information to land managers on the management of biodiversity on private land, totalling $564,195. The regional spread is outlined in the table below.

Table Two: Conservancy distribution of Advice Fund applications and allocations

Region Number of Projects Approved Allocations this funding round
Northland 2 $56,373
Auckland 2 $50,449
Waikato 2 $96,175
Taranaki / Wanganui 1 $8,228
Wellington 3 $62,500
Nelson 2 $27,000
Canterbury 4 $175,900
West Coast 2 $28,820
Otago 1 $56,330
Southland 1 $2,420

Money being invested in the protection and enhance of Biodiversity on private land for the August 2006 funding round (approvals)

Contribution sources $
Applicant’s Contribution $1,427,901
Other Contribution $1,191,759
Total contribution from other sources $2,619,660
Biofunds requested $2,980,088
Biofunds approved $1,802,651
Total value (money invested into biodiversity on private land) $4,422,311

Participation
There are over 1,000 landowners that will directly benefit through these approved projects, either through the advice they receive or the work being undertaken on their property to protect biodiversity. In many cases the projects are being coordinated on behalf of the landowners by local authorities, the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust and Landcare Trust or by community trusts formed by the landowners. This approach leads to the achievement of outcomes to a wider catchment or community and thus extends the biodiversity benefits to wider beneficiaries.

Fencing and Land area
- 15,336 metres of fencing will be completed. The money towards fencing includes the Biodiversity grant, landowner contribution and other contributions.
- Approximately 36,854 hectares of land will be protected, enhanced or maintained from the approved projects.
- Over 29,000 hectares from these approvals will have active pest management programmes being undertaken to protect biodiversity and the species within these native habitats.

Protection of Biodiversity Values
68% of the projects approved are on covenanted lands or lands with other forms of protection over them, of which 58% of these are under Queen Elizabeth II National Trust covenants. Where a project is located on unprotected land funds granted will be made subject to the landowner entering into some form of protective mechanism.

Ecosystems and species involved in the projects
What the projects were proposing to protect * No of projects
Bush and indigenous species habitat 34
Coastal, forests, habitat and species 11
Forests 19
Kiwi 13
River and Stream margins 5
Threatened plant protection 4
Wetlands and lakes 16
Native bird or other indigenous wildlife protection (not including Kiwi) 7
Sub alpine habitat, indigenous tussock grasslands 2
* Many of the projects include different ecosystems and species, as such are counted several times.

REGIONAL BREAKDOWN OF PROJECTS FUNDED THROUGH THE BIODIVERSITY FUNDS AND EXAMPLE PROJECTS APPROVED

Northland:
The Northland Region had $200,485 allocated amongst the 10 approved projects. The following is an example of one of the projects, for the full list refer to attachment one.

Project no: Project description : Allocation:
ADV-155a A whole of Northland Approach to Biodiversity Restoration
A second year grant of $50,000 to continue the project coordinator position within the NZ Landcare Trust for whole of Northland approach to biodiversity. This project will assist in the coordination and linkages between the various groups and agencies working to protect and enhance biodiversity in Northland.
Over the last year the key focus has been the mapping areas of biodiversity value and current project work that is being undertaken. This will be used to assist future priority setting and direction across community and agency projects involving the management of these areas and biodiversity generally in the region.
$50,000

Auckland:
The Auckland Region had $210,836 allocated amongst the 10 approved projects. The following is an example of one of the projects, for the full list refer to attachment one.

Project no: Project description : Allocation:
ADV-181 A grant of $40,000 for the second year of employment of a project manager to consult with Great Barrier Island community and other agencies to scope the potential for an ecology based economic framework for Great Barrier Island. In the last year of the project the Trust has been working with key agencies including Department of Conservation, Auckland Regional and Auckland City Councils, and the local community. Part of the project involves education through public meetings, newsletters, and visits to individual landowners.
This second year grant builds on year one of the project and will assist in further development of economic analysis and presenting the results to the community, obtaining baseline counts and data on all species present on the Island and a feasibility study on rat eradication as part the Great Barrier Island Charitable Trust programme to sustain and restore the cultural and natural environment of the Island.
$40,000

Waikato:
The Waikato Region had $237,977 allocated amongst the 6 approved projects. The following is an example of one of the projects, for the full list refer to attachment one.

Project no: Project description : Allocation:
CON-390 Pest Management Programme – Mangatea, Te Hoe
A grant of $40,000 to establish a pest management project over 220 hectares of remnant kauri dominated podocarp / broadleaf forest. The property is located 3 km north of Te Hoe which is north east of Huntly.
It is hoped the grant will provide a good knock-down of possum numbers allowing the landowners to maintain pest control operations in following years. The forest involved has been maintained and protected by the landowners since they purchased the property over 30 years ago, this grant gives them the boost to undertake extensive pest management required to ensure the biodiversity values continue to be maintained and enhanced.
The Waikato University has expressed an interest in utilising the site for students to monitor the land and the pest operations, for the study of Biodiversity Management. The site also has potential to be a seed source for eco-sourcing seeds to be propagated and used in other restoration projects around the ecological district. Both of these initiatives increase the community awareness and involvement in the project.
$40,000

Bay of Plenty:
The Bay of Plenty Region had $114,405 allocated amongst the 4 approved projects. The following is an example of one of the projects, for the full list refer to attachment one.

Project no: Project description : Allocation:
CON-395 Ngati Rangiteaorere Kahikatea Ecological Restoration Project
A grant of $50,350 to undertake a revegetation project over 3 years to enhance existing kahikatea forest on Maori freehold lands adjacent to State Highway 30, north of Rotorua airport. The project will see over 50,000 natives planted over a three year planting and maintenance programme to restore the 9 hectare block, and extends the 2.4 hectares of plantings already undertaken by the owners.
This is one of only three remaining stands of Kahikatea in the Rotorua Lakes Ecological District, with this being the largest. The Trust is working with the community and involving schools in the replanting programme both through school programmes and public planting days. The Trust is working to an Ecological Restoration Plan they had commissioned in August 2005 which will guide them in the project.
$50,350

Hawkes Bay / East Coast:
The Hawkes Bay / East Coast Region had $119,751 allocated amongst the 20 approved projects. The following is an example of one of the projects, for the full list refer to attachment one.

Project no: Project description : Allocation:
CON-402f Tuahine Point Charitable Trust Restoration
A grant $42,520 over two years to enable the continuation of a previous grant by the Biodiversity Fund of $16,775 to assist with this community driven restoration project covering 25 hectares of significant coastal headlands 7 kilometres east of Gisborne City. The restoration planting programme occurring at this site will assist in reducing coastal erosion and provide habitat for roosting sea birds, for example the pied shag. The area is protected under a QEII Covenant.
The project is being driven by Sandy Bull, who was recognised in this year Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to conservation with an Order of Merit (MNZM). The project involves significant community involvement to undertake the work, and includes the local Wainui Beach community, Department of Conservation, Forest and Bird Society, QEII National Trust, and Native Gardens Nursery. Volunteers continue to undertake the pest animal control programme through the significant hours they contribute to ensure the overall success of the project.
$42,520

Taranaki / Wanganui:
The Taranaki / Wanganui Region had $151,258 allocated amongst the 5 approved projects. The following is an example of one of the projects, for the full list refer to attachment one.

Project no: Project description and contact: Allocation:
CON-391 Blue Duck (whio) Protection in Taranaki
A pest animal control programme being undertaken over two years along 40 kilometres of riparian margins on the east side of Mount Egmont (Taranaki). The project specifically is targeting stoats which are known to predate on blue duck (whio) and in particular on nesting parents, eggs and ducklings. This trapping programme being undertaken on private land will expand the work being done by the Department of Conservation in the Egmont National Park.
Blue duck are a nationally endangered species and are only one of three waterfowl in the world to live on fast flowing rivers. An estimate on numbers two years ago provided a national figure of 2500 individuals and this number was declining.
The work proposed by the East Taranaki Environment Trust will assist in the protection of blue duck in Taranaki. This project will expand the area under a managed trapping programme of an earlier grant from the Biodiversity Funds made to a private landowner. This adjoining project has now being running for two years and is achieving great success for the survival of blue duck in this region.
$43,050

Wellington:
The Wellington Region has had allocated $140,899 amongst the 8 approved projects. The following is an example of one of the projects, for the full list refer to attachment one.

Project no: Project description and contact: Allocation:
CON-402u/v Kapiti Wetland Enhancement projects
A grant to the QEII National Trust who is working with 13 landowners with covenanted wetlands on their property on the Kapiti Coast. The grant is over three years and will see over 5000 natives grown from seeds collected in the area, and planted out to restore the indigenous habitat of these areas, as well as undertaking some weed control work in the Taupo Swamp. Taupo Swamp contains the largest population of Harakeke (flax) in the Wellington Region and is highly visible for people travelling on SH1 North of Wellington.
These wetlands provide habitat for such birds as spotless crake and bittern both of which are threatened, as well as several uncommon plant species. The protection and enhancement of this series of wetlands is significant for the land area covered and their relationship with the coast and dune systems on the Kapiti Coast of Wellington.
In New Zealand 90 percent of wetlands have been destroyed or highly modified. Wetlands provide a natural filtering system to enhance water quality and assists with flood protection.
$37,881

Nelson / Marlborough:
The Nelson / Marlborough Region had $159,540 allocated amongst the 14 approved projects. The following is an example of one of the projects, for the full list refer to attachment one.

Project no: Project description and contact: Allocation:
CON-380 Mapua Wetland Restoration Project
A grant of $21,050 over three years to assist in a wetland restoration project on private land at Mapua 17 kilometres west of Nelson. This grant will fund purchase of native plants for continuing the planting on the wetland restoration site. To date over 3000 plants have been planted as part of this project. The natives being planted in the area are those that historically existed in the Mapua Wetland complex and include kahikatea, rimu, kowhai, karamu, flaxes and carex (sedges) and hebes.
Less than 13 hectares of this wetland type remain in the lowlands of Nelson. The project involves significant community participation and compliments the Tasman District Council’s planting on the adjoining Aranui Park.
$21,050

Canterbury:
The Canterbury Region had $210,764 allocated amongst the 7 approved projects. The following is an example of one of the projects, for the full list refer to attachment one.

Project no: Project description and contact: Allocation:
ADV-230 Canterbury Mudfish Habitat Management Advice
A grant of $49,900 to assist with the continuation of an existing project to work with to Department of Conservation and Environment Canterbury in the contacting and engaging with private landowners within the Canterbury region who have known and potential Canterbury mudfish habitats on their properties.
The Canterbury mudfish is the second most endangered freshwater fish in New Zealand (the first being longjaw galaxias). The project will provide advice on mudfish, their importance, as well as habitat management and restoration options for landowners.
This programme ran last year with the assistance of the Biodiversity Funds and builds on the work already began and will enable new contact with landowners to be made.
$49,900

West Coast:
The West Coast had $48,820 allocated amongst 3 approved projects. The following is an example of one of the projects, for the full list refer to attachment one.

Project no: Project description and contact: Allocation:
ADV-220 & CON-384 West Coast Blue Penguin Protection Project
A grant of $16,700 (ADV-220) to fund a coordinator to ensure ongoing progress with community awareness and training to assist in penguin protection along the West Coast of the South Island. This work builds on an existing project and work being undertaken by the West Coast Blue Penguin Group over the last 18 months.
In addition, a grant of $20,000 (CON-384) to provide some capability to commence trapping activities on private land to protect blue penguin on the West Coast. This programme will involve trapper training and the purchase of traps targeting predators such as stoats to protect the blue penguins nesting on private land.
The project has a goal of eventually involving private land from Karamea to Haast in the future. Lincoln University are involved in a penguin monitoring and are working with the Trust on the reports produced.
$36,700

Otago:
The Otago Region had $108,437 allocated amongst 3 approved projects. The following is an example of one of the projects, for the full list refer to attachment one.

Project no: Project description and contact: Allocation:
ADV-231 Ranger – Yellow-Eyed Penguin
A grant of $56,330 to enable the engagement of a field ranger for the Trust. The ranger liaises with landowners and assists members of the public through education and field trips involving habitat management, restoration, predator control and protection for the Yellow-eyed Penguin which is considered the world’s rarest penguin.
The Trust works along the East coast of the South Island from Banks Peninsula to Bluff. While the work specifically focuses on penguin, the habitat restoration and predator control work also provides safe havens for other species including, seals, fernbirds, and threatened plants.
$56,330

Southland:
The Southland Region had $44,930 allocated amongst 3 approved projects. The following is an example of one of the projects, for the full list refer to attachment one.

Project no: Project description and contact: Allocation:
ADV-157 & CON-267 Halfmoon Bay Habitat Restoration Project, Stewart Island
These projects are focussed on Halfmoon Bay on Stewart Island and will enable a continuation of the control of possums, cats and rats on private land around Halfmoon Bay. The Trust and community have been very active in restoring the forest systems in this area and the recovery in forest ecosystems and birdlife since the project commenced illustrates the progress made by the group.
The Advice Fund grant specifically focuses on the community participation programme for Half Moon Bay, Stewart Island to encourage landowners to become involved in the “backyard biodiversity”. The Trust has been particularly successful with its habitat restoration project and weka reintroduction project. The community involvement has been crucial to the initial successes recorded.
$42,106

Chatham Islands:
The Chatham Islands has had $54,550 allocated to one project. The following is an outline of the project being funded.

Project no: Project description and contact: Allocation:
CON-312 Possum Control Programme, Chatham Islands
A second year grant to continue the possum control operations on seven covenanted properties on the Chatham Islands which began in May 2005. The programme is being management by Environment Canterbury and results to-date have shown excellent returns.
A total area of private land being covered by this project is 407 hectares. Within this area various ecosystems exist including mixed broadleaf forests and wetlands, and also provide habitat for several threatened plant species. This possum control protect will assist in the protection of both these areas and the individuals species.
$54,500



ENDS

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