Environmental, restoration and educational initiatives across the region have been given almost $420,000 from Waikato Regional Council’s Environmental Initiatives Fund (EIF).
The council’s Community Restoration Committee approved funds for 20 projects after receiving 30 applications.
They include the NZ National Fieldays Society, which gets $29,983.54 to help set up a predator control scheme covering Mystery Creek, King Country River Care – $10,000 to fund a project coordinator, National Wetland Trust of NZ – $35,000 to funding a coordinator/executive officer’s wages to oversee restoration at Rotopiko/Lake Serpentine near Te Awamutu and Waikato District Council – $22,600 for an environmental education programme in schools focusing on pest plant biocontrol.
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 there planting, trapping, getting rid of pest plants, and collectively, these actions help improve our biodiversity by improving habitats, and with spinoffs for fresh water,” he said.
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.
For more information on funding and scholarships by Waikato Regional Council go to https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/community/funding-and-scholarships/.