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Funding Helps Provide Employment And Improve Biodiversity And Freshwater Quality

Environmental, restoration and educational initiatives across the region have been given $417,976.82 from Waikato Regional Council’s Environmental Initiatives Fund (EIF).

The council’s Community Restoration Committee approved funds for 20 projects, with a total of 30 applications received.

Biodiversity Project Manager Judy van Rossem said the number of community groups and landowners undertaking environmental action was increasing.

“Both the number of applications and total of funds requested were more than double than average over the previous three years.

“Funding is helping to provide employment for local project coordinators, hapū and rangitahi as well as specialist contractors to undertake plan and animal pest control. This work is then protecting our taonga species such as Coromandel brown kiwi, whio, bittern and New Zealand dotterel, and providing habitat for our native birds, reptiles and insects.”

Chair Councillor Fred Lichtwark said there were many worthwhile projects which had sought funding and decision making was always a hard task.

“We have people out their planting, trapping, getting rid of pest plants, and collectively, these actions help improve our biodiversity by improving habitats, and with spinoffs for fresh water.

“We’re sorry that some projects missed out or that some only got part of the funding requested. The council is so grateful to everyone who applied and who are doing hard work to look after our natural treasures. I look forward to seeing more of this work especially if they help us meet our water quality improvement goals.”

The EIF is one of three funds the council has for community and landowner environmental and restoraton projects.

In July, the council gave $1.63 million in Natural Heritage Fund grants to five community groups working on landscape scale predator control projects. In August, 48 pest animal and plant control projects were given a total of $149,984 from the Small Scale Community Initiatives Fund.

Projects funded by the EIF.

Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust $7990

Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust (MTSCT) is a Northland-based charitable organisation established in 2002 to deliver the Experiencing Marine Reserves marine education and Whitebait Connection freshwater education programmes around NZ. This funding will go to the delivery of wananga in Coromandel in April 2021.

Whiritoa Conservation Trust Board $32,572.80

Whiritoa Conservation Trust Board is a volunteer organisation with the purpose of protecting the natural environment within public reserves of the Whiritoa area. This funding will go towards the eradication of target plant and predator species and to undertake restoration planting within the reserve, riparian and cliff areas of Whiritoa.

Coromandel Independent Living Trust $39,900

Coromandel Independent Living Trust is a broad-based community services provider for the upper Coromandel Peninsula with a current focus on providing education, training and employment opportunities for youth and the less advantaged. This funding is for the establishment of a native plant nursery, growing eco-sourced plants for local projects and providing training and employment for local rangitahi.

Habitat Tuateawa $23,754.56

Habitat Tuateawa is a voluntary community group in Tuateawa, northern Coromandel, with aim of restoring biodiversity in the local area mainly through predator control. This funding is for the wages of the project coordinator and contractors for track maintenance and GIS mapping.

McGregor Bay Wetland Society for Conservation $12,210.00

McGregor Bay Wetland Society (MWS) is a local community groups based in Coromandel town with the purpose of promoting the protection and restoration of the McGregor Bay wetland at Long Bay. This funding is for a project coordinator for two years to undertake educational projects.

Rings Beach Wetland Group $15,507.60

The Rings Beach Wetland Group is a voluntary conservation group based at Rings Beach near Matarangi. This funding is to extend the predator control network within the Matarangi Bluff Scenic Reserve to protect a newly discovered kiwi population.

Upper Coromandel Forest & Bird Society $27,078.42

The Upper Coromandel Branch of Forest & Bird is a conservation group based around Coromandel town. This funding is for pest plant and animal control in 24 hectares of reserve land with significant coastal kauri and nikau forest at Long Bay, Coromandel.

Mercury Bay Environmental Trust $17,850

Mercury Bay Environmental Trust is a community trust operating in Whitianga which focuses on a range of environmental activities. This funding is for nursery-related costs.

Kapowai Kiwi Care Group $18,720

The Kapowai Kiwi Care Group is a small group of landowners who undertake predator control to protect a small kiwi population in the Kapowai Valley. This funding is for a contractor to undertake trap clearing and baiting.

Whakaupoko West Franklin Landcare Group $18,300

Whakaupoko West Franklin Landcare Group operates as a community hub (Predator Free North West Waikato) to coordinate pest control across the northern Waikato region and southern Auckland region. This funding is for bait stations, traps and lures for the Aka Aka Islands in the lower Waikato River.

Hauraki District Council $10,000

Hauraki District Council’s Community Services Team works closely with volunteer groups and advocates for the community. This funding is for the restoration of Aorangi Reserve in Paeroa.

NZ National Fieldays Society $29,983.54

NZ National Fieldays Society (NZNFS) is a non-profit organisation based in Hamilton with the main purpose of running the annual Mystery Creek Fieldays agricultural event and providing educational support to the next generation of agribusiness leaders. This funding will help set up a new community predator control scheme (2100 hectares) covering Mystery Creek and surrounding properties.

Turua Domain and Hall Committee $10,000

The Turua Hall and Domain Committee provides general community support for the residents of Turua township. This funding will help the restoration of a small kahikatea remnant located in the Turua domain.

King Country River Care $10,000

King Country River Care is a farmer-driven organisation looking to embed a resilience approach to future planning (enhancing soil productivity, aquatic ecosystem health and indigenous biodiversity). This funding is for project coordinator wages to facilitate and enable the achievement of these objectives.

Waihaha Marae Papakainga Reservation $39,839.92

Waihaha Marae Papakainga Reservation (WMPR) is a landholding trust established in 2018 to administer the Waihaha reserve area on the western shores of Lake Taupō for the hapū owners by maintaining the whenua and associated marae and urupa. This funding is for specialist contractors and materials to control willow, wilding pines and predators.

National Wetland Trust of NZ $35,000

The National Wetland Trust of NZ (NWT) is a non-profit organisation with the purpose of increasing the appreciation of wetlands and their values. This funding is for the coordinator/executive officer’s wages to oversee the ongoing restoration of the trust’s site at Rotopiko/Lake Serpentine near Te Awamutu.

Tongariro Natural History Society $10,793.16

Tongariro Natural History Society (TNHS) has a mission to restore the mauri of Tongariro National Park and surroundings through community-managed conservation work. This funding is for the continuation of the Predator Free Taupo community trapping programme.

Waikato District Council $22,600

Waikato District Council works closely with volunteer groups and advocates for the community for ecological projects in their district. This funding is for an environmental education programme in schools focusing on pest plant biocontrol.

Central North Island Sika Foundation $19,910.32

The Central North Island Sika Foundation manages the Central North Island sika deer herd and undertakes conservation projects within the natural range of the herd. This funding is for predator control to protect whio (blue duck) along the Cascade Stream in the Kaimanawa Ranges.

Western Firth Catchment Group Trust for Miranda Stream Headwaters Biosecurity Area $15,966.50

Western Firth Catchment Group (WFCGT) is a charitable trust comprising farmers and landowners with the objective of improving water quality and biosecurity in the 1500 hectare Western Firth catchment near Miranda. This funding is for bait stations and bait for a community predator control scheme.

For more information on funding and scholarships by Waikato Regional Council go to https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/community/funding-and-scholarships/.

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