Hike funding

Council gives financial boost to 44 community-based small-scale pest control projects

The Waikato Regional Council has awarded $150,000 in funding to 44 animal and weed control projects in the latest round of its Small-Scale Community Initiatives Fund (SSCIF).

The fund was created to help local communities and individual landowners undertake ecological improvements through pest animal and plant control, and this year received 99 applications for a total of $345,484.

Successful applications ranged from $323.96 for pest control by an individual Thames landowner to $4,999.59 for the Pukawa Wildlife Management Trust to expand its opossum and rat trapping network around the settlement from Pukawa on the southwest shore of Lake Taupo.

Natural Heritage Biodiversity Officer Andrew Thomas says preference is given to applications that aim to care for special natural areas in the region.

“The fund helps volunteer groups and landowners with the costs of materials needed to undertake pest control. Being able to support them financially to purchase the tools can make a real difference in pest control.

“In this round of funding, we are helping to purchase a range of traps for rats, stoats, possums and herbicides for weed control.”

Mr Thomas says it is heartening to see just how much ecological improvement is taking place by individuals and groups across the region.

“We have people who are just starting to control predators or weeds on their properties in projects that have been running for over 50 years.”

The SCCIF is funded by the uniform annual general royalty rate and $150,000 is available each year. Applications can be made for up to $5,000, with the funding cycle falling in June.

The regional council also recently awarded $54,000 from its environmental initiatives fund to six community groups working to improve and/or foster the environment or provide environmental education.

For more information on Waikato Regional Council funding and scholarships, go to https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/community/funding-and-scholarships/.

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