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Horizons Regional Council receives over $18.4mil towards Jobs for Nature

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The regional council sector welcomes central government’s announcement over the weekend of $162 million towards environmental enhancement projects throughout the country, including over $18.4 million that has been allocated towards three projects within the ManawatÅ«-Whanganui Region. 

Horizons Regional Council chair Rachel Keedwell says the local share builds on work already underway and accelerates additional projects, including further riparian planting and stream fencing across the region to improve freshwater, remediation to fish passages to enhance indigenous fish populations, and a Lake Horowhenua wetlands project to improve the lake’s water quality. 

"These projects total over $27 million. Central government’s investment of almost $18.4 million goes a long way towards progressing these programmes and will create 185 new jobs over the life of the projects," says Cr Keedwell.

"They will also help progress the objectives of national freshwater management regulatory reforms and provide an opportunity to strengthen our partnerships with iwi, landowners, and community groups. 

"Horizons has a current riparian planting and stream fencing programme targeting the delivery of almost 80 kilometres of fencing and over 63,000 riparian plants per year. 

"In recent years, we have been unable to meet demand for fencing and planting on farms. Central government’s investment of $4.6 million towards our $11.3 million programme will allow for more funding and staff resource to scale up. "In addition to an expected 125 new jobs over the next five years, the 405 kilometres of fencing and planting of 375,000 riparian plants will help target nutrient and E. coli loads in waterways, increase aquatic habitat, and decrease stream temperatures and bank erosion. 

"The other region-wide programme to receive funding is Horizons’ remediation of native fish migration passage barriers. This will build on the existing programme and will include targeting larger barriers. 

"Central government’s Jobs for Nature investment of $2.5 million will assist with delivering a $3.2 million programme. 

"This investment will allow for the removal of at least 25 barriers, opening up 1,250 kilometres of stream habitat for migratory fish. This will increase native fish numbers and distribution, improve aquatic habitat, and increase kākahi (freshwater mussel) populations. 

"This project also has the potential to create 15 new jobs.

"The third project to receive central government funding in this round is a project to construct a wetland complex and other catchment water quality interventions at Lake Horowhenua.

"The $11.2 million will go towards the five year, $12.5 million project, targeted to reduce nitrogen concentrations in Lake Horowhenua and the Arawhata Stream. 

"The wetland idea has been developed over time by an alliance involving Horizons and Horowhenua District Council, horticulture growers, iwi and environmental groups, with 45 new jobs expected as a result of the project.

"This additional project to improve water quality builds on the existing work of the Lake Horowhenua Accord that has established a large scale sediment trap and a fish pass, and continues to progress towards weed harvesting in the lake. 

"These non-regulatory projects are a part of the overall programme to improve water quality throughout the region. They sit alongside the other work essential to restoring freshwater such as changes to land practices and the requirements needed to implement government’s Action for Healthy waterways."

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