$158,000 to protect Taranaki biodiversity

  • Nick Smith

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith today announced a $158,000 Community Environment Fund grant for a project which aims to protect native birds and forest at Rotokare Scenic Reserve in South Taranaki.

“This funding will help support the work underway to ensure a ‘halo’ more than 2000 hectares in area surrounding the predator-proof fence of Rotokare Scenic Reserve. This funding will extend the successful work of the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust as well as neighbouring property owners and local councils to create a flourishing ecosystem in an area that was previously threatened by predators and land use change,” Dr Smith says.

Rotokare Scenic Reserve is a 230-hectare forested hill country catchment, with extensive wetlands and a 17.8-hectare natural lake. The Government support announced today will ensure 2000 hectares around the reserve is protected within three years – work which is expected to cost $250,000 in total. The project will provide another 1000 traps and expertise to establish an extensive network of trapping, mostly by landowners and volunteers, as well as encouraging greater community awareness of local and regional environmental issues.

“This is an exciting initiative because species such as kiwi and robin have already returned to areas outside Rotokare, with the potential for even greater repopulation. Creating ‘satellite’ trapping projects beyond the halo protection zone will build community momentum for developing interconnected trapping networks across Taranaki, and will provide a model for other regions,” Dr Smith says.

“This community project will capitalise on the investment already made in the predator-proof fence and sanctuary, with the grant from the Government comprising a significant portion of the total cost of the project. It is the latest initiative funded by the Government’s Community Environment Fund, which supports community groups around the country to put in place practical initiatives to protect and improve our environment, and increase community-based advice, educational opportunities, and public awareness on environmental issues.”

Further information on the Fund is available at: www.mfe.govt.nz/more/funding/community-environment-fund