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New fund benefits community conservation

24 September 2008

New fund benefits community conservation

The new Community Conservation Fund launched today will help community groups to restore important native areas on public land, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick said.

“This is the first time that the government has been able to offer funding to help community groups with their restoration efforts on public land, and I would like to thank the Green Party for bringing this initiative to the table,” Steve Chadwick said.

As part Budget 2008 the $4 million fund was established for two years to provide funding to community groups undertaking restoration projects on land managed by DOC, local and regional councils, NZ Rail, Transit New Zealand, Land Information New Zealand, and Maori reserve land covered.

Since the arrival of humans in New Zealand, the native vegetation has been severely depleted. New Zealand’s wetland and dune environments are considered to be the most at risk of destruction.

“I am very pleased to be launching this new fund today with Green conservation spokesperson Metiria Turei – this fund will allow concerned members of the community to have the resources to do their bit to protect New Zealand’s unique natural heritage.

“Community groups involved in restoring native vegetation are making a huge difference towards stopping the biodiversity decline and ensuring we leave our native areas in good condition for future generations.

“While National has just cottoned on to the of value community conservation, Labour continues to deliver. Today’s fund complements two existing funds, and is in addition to the massive voluntary contribution New Zealanders make to conservation each year, putting in more than 19,000 work days to DOC organised projects.”

The fund will provide up to $40,000 per year per project to community conservation initiatives, and complements the Biodiversity Funds that are already available to fund conservation work on private land.

The Community Conservation Fund will target restoration projects that help address the national priorities for protecting rare and threatened native biodiversity. Groups will also need to show how they can sustain long term maintenance of the project after the initial two year funding period.

Information about the Community Conservation Fund attached.

What is the aim of the fund ?

The Community Conservation Fund aims to:
 maintain and enhance New Zealand’s native biodiversity.
 support community-led biodiversity restoration activities on public land.
 improve the community’s capability and capacity to restore native biodiversity.

How does this fund differ form other funds available for restoration work?
This fund will have a strong biodiversity focus and will support community conservation groups who want to undertake restoration on public land. Other funds that the Department of Conservation administers provide funding for conservation efforts on private land.

Who can apply?
The Community Conservation Fund provides grants to established community groups – that is, those with an established track record in restoration activities. It will be an advantage if groups have managed restoration projects in the past and can show what they have achieved.

How long will the fund be available?
The grant monies will be allocated over two years but activities will run beyond that as projects are completed.

Project that will be supported will -
 Contribute to the National Priorities for rare and threatened ecosystems.
 Be strong community led restoration projects where good conservation outcomes will occur.
 Give some preference to councils which have a low rating base or those that have limited capacity to progress or achieve conservation outputs.
 Give preference to projects for riparian, wetland, urban waterways, forest remnants or dune land.
 Cover projects on Department of Conservation, Council, Land Information NZ, other Crown land, Crown held Maori lands and Maori reserve land.
 Allow small grants for minor replacement tools (emphasis on minor equipment –all OSH requirements to be met).
 As a guideline be between $5000 and $40,000 (+GST) per project in any one year.
 Demonstrate that the group has the capability and capacity to sustain the project beyond the two years.

Who will make the allocation decisions?
Funding decisions are based on a two-step process:
 Each application is independently assessed by an ecological assessment agency according to a set of publicised criteria.
 Each application and its ecological assessment will be reviewed by a panel representing DOC, councils and community conservation groups, which will then provide recommendations to the Director-General of Conservation.
The grants will be announced by the Minister of Conservation.


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