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Published: 2015-05-14 00:00:00

Community environmental initiatives are to receive more than $40,000 in grants in the latest round of funding approved by Waikato Regional Council’s finance committee.

The grants include:

  • $30,000 to the South Waikato branch of Forest and Bird for a biodiversity hub at the Mokaihaha Ecological Area on the Mamaku plateau
  • $6,840 to Ngati-Tahu-Ngati Whaoa Rununga Trust to implement a zero waste programme at three marae in the Upper Waikato river area
  • $3,600 to EcoQuest Education Foundation to purchase plants for restoring a coastal wetland at Miranda on the Firth of Thames.

Committee chair Jane Hennebry said the projects to be supported by the council’s Environmental Initiatives Fund (EIF) were all very worthwhile.

“One of the key aims of this fund is to support community-based initiatives to protect and restore our precious Waikato environment. These were good quality project applications which the committee felt would assist the region to meet its environmental enhancement aims.”

South Waikato Forest and Bird’s funds will go towards a multi-partner project aimed at establishing the Department of Conservation’s 2136-hectare Mokaihaha Ecological Area on the Mamaku plateau as a “nationally recognized nature destination and a key biodiversity hub”. The area is home to a nationally significant population of about 40 kōkako which is threatened by pests. The Environmental Initiatives Fund grant will be used for ground-based control of possums and rats and facilitating community involvement in a long term pest management programme.

Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa Rununga Trust’s grant will help implement the Para Kore (zero waste) education and support programme at three marae in the Upper Waikato River area. This will include the training of an iwi member by Para Kore staff to implement the programme, helping ensure there is ongoing local leadership of waste minimisation.

EcoQuest’s funds will go towards enhancing and restoring 4.7 hectares of coastal vegetation and intertidal wading bird habitat on the Pūkorokoro Miranda-Kaiaua Chenier Plain. Known as the Rangipo wetland and owned by the Department of Conservation, the area has been the subject of a long-running project to create a fully functioning natural ecosystem and has previously been supported by EIF funds.

Consideration of two other grants to the Project Litefoot Trust and Nga Uri o te Ngahere Trust was deferred at yesterday’s committee meeting to a future date so that more detail could be considered.