Conservation groups join forces
Western Bay community groups have been encouraged to join the Bay Conservation Alliance programme for nature conservation.
The organisation was launched last Friday as part of National Conservation Week by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage.
Founded by four Western Bay Community Conservation groups — Maketu¯ Ongatoro Wetland Society, tanewainuku Kiwi Trust, Aongatete Forest Project and the Uretara Estuary Managers — Bay Conservation Alliance has been set up to support and grow community-led environmental restoration and nature conservation.
Newer members include Te Whakakaha Trust and Friends of the Blade.
“We are about harnessing the power and enthusiasm of small community groups, agencies and the wider community to develop bigger landscape-scale conservation projects,” Julian Fitter, Chair of Bay Conservation Alliance said.
“It is about joining the dots across both community groups and landscapes by taking a smart regional approach to restoring nature and lightening the load by providing groups with shared support services.”
The launch marked the first year of operation and Bay Conservation has invited more community groups in Western Bay to get involved. Bay Conservation offers support services in administration, communication and marketing, nature education, fundraising and project management. Individuals wanting to get conservation news, volunteer or attend events can sign up to the new Friends of Bay Conservation programme.
Tauranga district DOC Operations manager Jeff Milham said DOC needs the help of community groups to contribute to the restoration and improved health and management of the ngahere.
“Good planning, meeting legal requirements, having sufficient funds and increasing capability are the backbone of every successful project. Bay Conservation Alliance is providing that backbone and allowing those that prefer the hands-on conservation work to do the best job they can,” he said.
Western Bay of Plenty’s natural environment is under pressure, ranging from pest invasions, plant diseases, sedimentation, pollution and habitat loss and Bay Conservation says it believes that empowering communities to restore nature can benefit people and nature.
Western Bay of Plenty District Mayor Garry Webber attended the launch.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage (left) with Michelle Elborn, Bay Conservation Alliance chief executive.