Banks Peninsula, Selwyn projects among those receiving biodiversity funding

Friday 2 November 2012, 10:27PM
By Environment Canterbury


Environment Canterbury announced today that it had recently allocated $112,500 to a range of important biodiversity projects throughout Canterbury.

Biodiversity Team Leader Jo Abbott says the 13 projects will protect and enhance a variety of ecosystem types, and help achieve the goals of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

“Projects include native plantings, weed and pest control and stockproof fencing. They cover dryland reserves, hill country catchments, lowland streams, wetlands and native vegetation remnants,” Dr Abbott said.

Funding was awarded as part of the implementation of the Canterbury Biodiversity Strategy. The Environment Canterbury Biodiversity Fund covers initiatives designed to protect the region’s biodiversity and ecosystem health.

Dr Abbott said the quality of applications in the recent funding round was extremely good, with many receiving high ecological scores. “This means it is very worthwhile protecting the areas that are the subject of the applications,” she said.

One of the projects involves stockproof fencing on a Port Hills property. “This steep and rugged property has had 30 years of planting and weed control put into it by the owners and is now naturally regenerating as birds bring in new seeds from nearby sources,” Dr Abbott said.

“It’s a great example of how dedication and passion can make a real difference to ecosystem health. The project will also be protected through a Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust covenant, the first on the Port Hills.”

Another project which has received funding is protecting 12.1 hectares of wetlands in four blocks in the upper catchment of the Selwyn River.

“This project requires fencing stock out of these areas, which will then have a QEII covenant placed over them to protect them in perpetuity,” Dr Abbott said.

QEII Trust regional representative Miles Giller says Canterbury’s remaining wetlands are both valuable and vulnerable. “Funding partnerships between Environment Canterbury, QEII and landowners make it much easier to achieve the protection that these wetlands often need,” he said.

“The landowners have already demonstrated their commitment to the protection of the natural environmental qualities on the farm, through two existing covenants which add to other works in the catchment and initiatives to protect the middle and lower reaches of the Selwyn River and Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora,” Jo Abbott said.

“This property is already recognised as a leading example of good land stewardship, which continues to grow.”

According to Annabel Tripp and Roy Veronese from Snowdon Station, “Working with QEII and Environment Canterbury has enabled us to protect four unique wetland areas on our farm that we would not otherwise have been able to fund on our own.”

Environment Canterbury allocates $400,000 per year to a range of important biodiversity projects across the Canterbury region, implementing the Canterbury Biodiversity Strategy.

This money is in addition to Immediate Steps biodiversity funding and is targeted towards the highest priority actions aimed at protecting and restoring the region’s biodiversity. These projects will protect and enhance a variety of ecosystem types, including wetlands, lowland streams and native vegetation remnants. Projects include native plantings, weed control, pest and stockproof fencing.

The Immediate Steps programme is a key component of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. Through this fund, $1.24 million is allocated annually and a contribution is required from third parties.

Environment Canterbury also allocates grants on behalf of the Honda TreeFund, including to school projects. Honda sponsors 10 native trees to be planted for every new car sold, with another three funded by local Honda dealers.