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Waikato Gets $5.5 Million In Funding For Quick-start Projects To Improve Fresh Water

Waikato Regional Council has secured $5.535 million in Government funding for quick-start restoration projects.

Waikato Regional Council has bid for more than $160 million of funding in response to the Government’s call for shovel ready projects to help with New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19. Our bids include funding for flood protection infrastructure and stock truck effluent disposal sites across the region, and we’ve asked for $83m to support more than 20 projects focused on protecting and enhancing water quality, biodiversity, soils and coastal areas.

Today, the Ministry for the Environment unveiled a spend of $62m on Jobs for Nature quick-start projects to improve fresh water as part of the Government’s environmentally-focused COVID-19 recovery funding – $1.3 billion in total. The Jobs for Nature programme accelerates work already being done by regional and unitary councils in fencing off sensitive waterways and riparian planting.

The council received $2.825 million towards creating a green corridor along the lower Piako River from the Kopuatai wetland to the Hauraki Gulf; $1.74 million towards habitat enhancement following willow and poplar removal along a 17 kilometre section of the Waiomou Stream, a major tributary of the Waihou River; $740,000 towards restoring minimum water levels at Lake Kimihia, near Huntly; and $230,000 towards pest control and planting at Opuatia Wetland in the lower Waikato river catchment.

Waikato Regional Council chair Russ Rimmington said getting the funding meant work would not only be fast tracked for the benefit of the respective local environments but it would support local contractors and businesses such as fencers, arborists, pest control specialists, nurseries and hardware/rural supply stores.

“This work helps accelerate our sustainable future which improves the resilience of our primary industries, and it’s helping our local communities recover financially from the COVID-19 response.

“These are really exciting projects happening around our region and often they can’t happen as fast as we’d like them to because of issues with securing funding and the cost to ratepayers.

Cr Stu Husband, chair of the River and Catchment Committee, said all the projects involved working collaboratively with iwi, landowners, the Department of Conservation and/or other agencies.

“It’s great we are able to get stuck in now. These projects are a good example of what can be achieved when we all work together towards a common goal, and for everyone’s benefit.”

Cr Fred Lichtwark, chair of the Community Restoration Committee, said he hoped that outcomes of this work would encourage more community-led catchment restoration projects to be set up, “which we as a council can help with and support”.

To find out more about the specific projects which received government funding from Jobs for Nature go to https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/shovel-ready-projects.

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