A fund for community-led efforts to protect threatened species and at-risk cultural heritage has opened for applications.
The Department of Conservation’s Community Fund will make $9.2 million available for community conservation groups nationwide in the next year, supporting critical, grassroots work to halt the biodiversity crisis.
Acting Minister of Conservation, Meka Whaitiri said that this year the fund has been aligned with achieving the outcomes of the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy/Te Mana o Te Taiao.
“New Zealand’s biodiversity is a rich tapestry of animal and plant life, from wonderful snails and rare lichens to endangered birds and lizards, and the unique and special ecosystems they are a part of. Many of these species are on the brink of extinction and the places they live in are highly degraded,” she said.
“This fund recognises that community groups play a vital role in protecting our precious wildlife and places. We need these groups if we’re to turn around the biodiversity crisis.”
This year’s fund is divided into two streams:
- $7.2 million for biodiversity projects that reduce the extinction risk of priority threatened species or protect priority ecosystems;
- $2 million to protect cultural heritage sites and maintain visitor infrastructure in the backcountry.
“This funding will also enable heritage sites to be preserved for future generations and to tell the public about important stories on our conservation estate,” said Ms Whaitiri.
There was no DOC Community Fund round in 2021 due to the focus on the Department’s Jobs for Nature programme and COVID recovery, so $9.2 million is available this year as a double funding round, the Minister explained.
The 2022 funding round is open now and closes on 31 January 2023.
Community groups, iwi and hapū, as well as private landowners throughout the country can apply for the funding. Government departments and local authorities are not eligible. Successful applications will be announced from late April 2023.
Details of how to apply are on the Department’s website.