Saturday, April 13, 2024

Top-of-the-South project trio score funding

A mountain-to-sea landscape scale project to clean up rivers in the Marlborough Sounds will open up dozens of new job opportunities, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan said today.

The Te Hoiere/Pelorus Catchment Restoration Project is one of three top-of-the-South initiatives set to receive funding through the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme, a multi-agency initiative with the purpose of creating nature-based employment in response to the economic impact of COVID-19.

“The community, including landowners, iwi, council, government agencies and businesses are already working together on the project, which covers more than 10,700 hectares of the Te Hoiere and Kaituna River and Cullen Creek catchments,” Minister Allan said.

“The region is one of the country’s most scenic spots, with the Pelorus River used as backdrop during filming of scenes for the second of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy. We want to keep it that way.

“A  $7.5 million Government investment will mean the project crew can push on with the next phase,  accelerating river restoration work, planting, weed control, animal pest control and  habitat enhancement for native species such as pekapeka/bats, mioweka/banded rail and shortjaw kōkopu. It will create job starts for up to 79 people over four years.”

A nursery will also be established on Ngāti Kuia land to propagate and grow eco-sourced natives to be planted as part of the project.

The second project, led by the global non-profit organisation The Nature Conservancy, in conjunction with DOC, the Tasman, Nelson City, Buller, and Marlborough councils involves wide-scale organised weed management across 35,000 hectares of the northern South Island and will explore the possibility of expanding the protection of some sites through QEII covenanting.

“Funding of $6m through Jobs for Nature will employ 29 people with mobilised teams who can work across different locations and provide support to public and private landowners in their aim to leave an environmental legacy we can all share in,” the Minister said.

“And lastly, but definitely not least the Picton Dawn Chorus/ Te Atiawa o Te Waka-a-Maui community group will receive $700,000, enabling them to expand their predator trapping efforts from 415 to 4,815 hectares.

“In just five years this group has encouraged more than 600 people to trap predators in their backyards and has a team of 165 volunteers working in surrounding bush areas,

“The Jobs for Nature funding will mean eight people can be employed across three years to help with the regeneration of native birdlife, lizards, insects and forests,” she said.

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