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Boost for natural heritage

GISBORNE District Council’s Natural Heritage Fund has been given a funding boost from $40,000 to $100,000 for this funding round and applications for grants are now open.

Private landowners in the district can apply for assistance to protect or enhance indigenous biodiversity on their land.

“Any privately-owned land within the district is eligible for the funding, which is made available instead of rates remissions on a limited number of properties,” a council spokesperson said.

Biodiversity protection and enhancement is a core activity of regional and unitary councils.

“Since its establishment in 2013, the Natural Heritage Fund has helped fund 46 projects and allocated more than $300,000 for native planting, pest and weed control and stock exclusion fencing.

“There is currently $100,000 available this year for one or more projects, with applications ranked on biodiversity merit and approved to the extent of available funds,” the spokesperson said.

In 2020 the Cave family at Ngatapa received $5000 towards the construction of a stock-proof fence around a significant area of remnant bush on their property at Sunworth Station.

The family’s goal was to protect the 3ha area of native trees, which was found to contain pittosporum obcordatum, an at-risk species of pittosporum.

Through fencing, pest control and supplementary planting of eco-sourced seedlings, the long-term future of this unique ecosystem looks good.

Applications for funding remain open until early October for projects planned to commence in 2021.