Cash boost for wildlife project

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Api­lot project to help to look af­ter en­dan­gered ecosys­tems and species liv­ing on pri­vate land has been given a fund­ing boost by Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

The coun­cil’s fi­nance and au­dit com­mit­tee yes­ter­day ap­proved a grant of $37,100 from the en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tives fund (EIF) to For­est & Bird for ‘‘Land for Wildlife’’, which is based on a suc­cess­ful pro­gramme de­liv­ered through­out Aus­tralia since 1981 and in­volv­ing 13,300 prop­er­ties.

It is a vol­un­tary pro­gramme en­cour­ag­ing will­ing prop­erty own­ers to man­age part of their land for na­ture con­ser­va­tion.

Some of New Zealand’s most en­dan­gered ecosys­tems and species were found on pri­vate land, the coun­cil heard.

Com­mit­tee chair­man Phillip Legg said it was im­por­tant to sup­port a project that was look­ing af­ter re­main­ing bush, rivers and wet­lands on pri­vate land.

‘‘This project en­cour­ages pri­vate landown­ers who might be cau­tious about putting per­ma­nent covenants on their prop­er­ties to con­trib­ute vol­un­tar­ily to bio­di­ver­sity restora­tion,’’ he said.

The EIF grant will be used by For­est & Bird to buy a hand­held GPS, help fund a project co­or­di­na­tor, de­velop an on­line landowner data­base and pay for a let­ter­box drop in the project area.

The pi­lot project is known as the ‘‘Kaimai Con­nec­tion’’.

It cov­ers the Te Puna and Aon­gatete catch­ments in the Bay of Plenty, and links th­ese in a cor­ri­dor across the Kaimai Ma­maku For­est Park to the Mid­dle Wai­hou catch­ment in the Waikato.

The pro­gramme in­te­grates bio­di­ver­sity pro­tec­tion and en­hance­ment with other land man­age­ment ac­tiv­i­ties on farms, or­chards and life­style blocks.

It is free to join and there are no covenants or obli­ga­tions.

A For­est & Bird Land for Wildlife of­fi­cer will visit a prop­erty and un­der­take an as­sess­ment.

Landown­ers will then re­ceive a prop­erty as­sess­ment report, which in­cludes a de­tailed con­ser­va­tion ac­tion plan.

The pro­gramme will pro­vide con­tin­ued sup­port and en­cour­age­ment through work­shops, field days and reg­u­lar news­let­ters.

And each landowner’s ef­forts will be recog­nised with a sign to dis­play on their prop­erty.

An on­line landowner data­base will record rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion



le­gal re­lat­ing to th­ese prop­er­ties to en­sure anal­y­sis and mon­i­tor­ing can be un­der­taken by For­est & Bird.

It is ex­pected Land for Wildlife mem­ber­ship within the mid­dle Wai­hou catch­ment will in­crease con­ser­va­tion ac­tions and as­so­ci­ated bio­di­ver­sity out­comes.

This project com­ple­ments and sup­ports both the bio­di­ver­sity ob­jec­tives in the Waikato Re­gional Pol­icy State­ment, and the coun­cil’s ac­tiv­i­ties to achieve th­ese ob­jec­tives, in­clud­ing its par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Kaimai Catch­ments Project with Bay of Plenty Re­gional Coun­cil and the Con­ser­va­tion De­part­ment.

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