Applications for the Regional Council’s 2007 Environment Fund open on Tuesday 1 May and can be made until 5pm on Friday 20 July.
Council Chairman Mark Farnsworth says since 1996 the fund has provided more than $1.5 million to help people improve and protect Northland’s natural environment.
Mr Farnsworth says as proposed, about $500,000 is expected to be available for this year’s fund, roughly 12.5 percent of Council’s annual general rate.
Last year more than 100 projects from lakeside planting to fencing wetlands were funded; 55 based in the Far North District, 41 in the Whangarei District and 16 from the Kaipara. Those grants ranged from just $340, used to help with riparian native tree planting at Waima, in the Hokianga, up to $20,000 (used to help keep stock out of coastal wetland and bush at Oneriri, near Kaiwaka).
The Environment Fund typically contributes up to 50 percent of the total cost of a project, with most grants for between $500 and $5000. Applicants must be able to provide the remainder of the cost with time, cash costs, other funding or in-kind contributions such as voluntary labour and donated materials.
Mr Farnsworth says projects must be of long-term benefit to the local environment and show clear evidence of good resource management. Projects designed to generate personal or commercial profit, required under a resource consent, or to simply beautify a site, are not eligible for funding.
The fund is open to individuals and voluntary groups for eligible projects on private land. Landowners, community and conservation organisations, local Maori groups and schools have all successfully applied to the Environment Fund in the past.
Mr Farnsworth says as proposed, this year’s fund will once again be split across a number of areas:
- General biodiversity protection
- Wetland protection and enhancement
- Pest animal and plant control
- Revegetation and enhancement with native plants
- Excluding stock from the Coastal Marine Area
- Coast care projects (mainly sand dune stabilisation projects).
Mr Farnsworth says people wanting to check whether their project might qualify for funding should contact Regional Council Land Management staff on (0800) 002 004 as it is often valuable to consult with Council staff before filling in the application form.
Application forms and guidelines are also now available from all Northland Regional Council offices, by calling (0800) 002 004, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting Council’s website www.nrc.govt.nz
Applications must be with the Council by 5pm on 20 July and successful applicants will be notified by Wednesday 31 October.