Funding boost for community conservation efforts

  • Nick Smith

90 community groups are to receive $3.6 million in Government funding to support conservation projects throughout the country, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“These 90 Biofunds grants are about DOC partnering with communities to protect the birds, plants, landscapes and habitats that make New Zealand special,” Dr Smith says.

“This programme of community conservation grants is designed to complement the core work of DOC. Our threatened plants and animals are on private as well as public land. If we are serious about their survival we need to take conservation action on both fronts.

“A major benefit of this programme is that we leverage more than $10 million of conservation work from this $3.6 million of grants because of the contribution of volunteer labour, donations and financial support from other sources.

“There were a record 160 applications received for the two Biofunds this year. The 90 that were successful had well thought-out plans and costings with good levels of collaboration and financial support from other sources.

“Funding has been allocated to a wide range of projects around the country. For instance, $129,000 has been granted towards tackling the large pest and predator population in the Hihi Peninsular area in Northland, while $78,000 was given towards a dedicated coordinator for the Biodiversity Southland Forum who will be responsible for providing education and support for improving the protection of our natural plants and animals.

“A great example of the sort of grant in my home area is the $180,000 over three years for Project de-Vine in Golden Bay. This is about control of weeds like banana passion vine, old man’s beard and climbing asparagus on 160 properties. The objective is to remove tens of thousands of vines and stop the seeds spreading into the adjacent Abel Tasman National Park.

“The compelling logic behind this programme of grants is that DOC can secure substantial conservation gains by providing a modest amount of funding to community groups for the tools, fencing, traps, poisons and plants needed to support their volunteer work.”