Waikato Regional Council has approved a total of $248,401.81 to nine community groups for projects that directly benefit the environment or provide environmental education.
The council received its highest number of applications to the 2023/24 funding round of its Environmental Initiatives Fund, with 33 groups seeking a total of $983,142.10.
The following projects have received funding.
- Kids Greening Taupō: Tongariro Natural History Society Incorporated will receive $40,000 towards a kairuruku reo Māori role to support the environmental programme from a cultural perspective.
- Taiea te Taiao Maungatautari to Pirongia Ecological Corridor: New Zealand Landcare Trust will receive $39,927.40 towards traps and bait stations.
- Te Ūmangawha o ngā waka | Colville pest control: Colville Junction Charitable Trust will receive $30,007.09 towards the monitoring and servicing of traps, and for predator control materials.
- Pampas control/eradication at Black Jack Reserve (Pukeumu): Kuaotunu Peninsula Trust will receive $7368.62 towards controlling pampas on steep and difficult terrain by using drone technology.
- Ki Uta Ki Tai: W.T Nicholls Trust will receive $37,502.34 towards employing professional contractors to target specific invasive plant species within a high value biodiversity site that is monitored for Coromandel brown kiwi, upskilling their own knowledge regarding pest plant control, and increase their suite of tools targeting possums, rats, mustelids and feral cats.
- Whio Protection Programme: Sika Foundation Conservation Trust will receive $5970 towards extending its predator control network beyond the current trapping area.
- Central Waikato Predator Free Hub: Waikato Environment Centre will receive $38,976 towards a coordinator to support predator free groups with funding applications and enhance the success rate of applications.
- Northern Pureora Trapping Project: Kaitiakitanga Charitable Trust will receive $37,429 towards for trapping contractors and materials for at-risk youth to build traps.
- Driving Creek Catchment Conservation: Driving Creek Railway, Arts and Conservation Trust will receive $11,221.36 towards pest animal contractor costs and trapping materials.
Integrated Catchment Committee Chair Robbie Cookson said there were many good projects seeking funding.
“The increase in applications likely reflects the growing number of community groups carrying out biodiversity work and their increased resourcing requirements,” said Cr Cookson.
“We do assess the applications against certain criteria, but it was well discussed by councillors how best to allocate funds with demand increasingly outstripping funding availability.”
The Environmental Initiatives Fund (EIF) was established in 1992 to assist organisations with environmental projects in the Waikato region with grants of up to $40,000.
Funding is provided as per the Natural Heritage Partnership Programme funding policy, to projects designed to:
- enhance the environment
- promote and/or contribute to sustainable management of the environment
- raise community awareness of environmental issues
- provide environmental education
- build the capacity and competency of iwi Māori, hapū, marae in environmental education and/or exercising kaitiakitanga.
The revenue for the EIF is sourced from the natural heritage targeted rate of $5.80 per property per annum.