The Waikato River Authority has decided to fund another 38 river clean-up projects in its latest funding round.
The Authority’s third funding round will see $5,950,993 allocated from a possible grants pool of $7 million. The grants announcement follows the Waikato River Authority’s latest board meeting and AGM.
The largest of the projects is a major riverbank clearance of exotic and pest plants between Huntly and Rangiriri Bridge on the lower Waikato River. The project will be carried out by the Tainui Development Authority and Kanae Kakariki Trust and will initially see eight kilometres of riverbank cleared and replanted. The project is being funded a million dollars over a two-year period.
Authority Co-Chair the Hon John Luxton says the project is a very tangible example of cleaning up the river and its immediate environment.
Another large-scale proposal from Waikato-Tainui College, NIWA and the Waikato Raupatu River Trust has been funded to undertake a major tuna (eel) restoration programme in the lower Waikato River catchment.
The project will take place over three years and receive a total of $851,000 of funding. As well as developing a comprehensive and integrated plan for the restoration of tuna, the project will restore habitat and transfer eels to establish larger populations. Work will also be carried out to improve fish passageways. The project managers will work closely with the Waikato Regional Council.
Co-Chair Mr Tukoroirangi Morgan says the project is key work required to deliver on the vision and strategy for the Waikato River.
“In its most simplified form, our vision for the river is to have it healthy and restored to a state where people can swim and gather food. Clearly the restoration of a sustainable tuna population is a key part of this,” says Mr Morgan.
Mr Luxton says while there was $7 million available in this funding round, the robust assessment process to evaluate projects meant that only the very best projects were successful. “While we would have liked to have seen this year’s funding pool fully allocated it is more important to know there is maximum value being obtained from the projects we do fund. It is possible some of the project proposals that missed out this year could be reworked to gain funding in future years,” says Mr Luxton.
A total of 63 proposals were received by the Authority which were seeking funding of around $18 million.
Other projects to receive funding through the Authority this year include:
- Waipa District Council and Ngaati Haua Mahi Trust for Karapiro Gully planting and restoration ($300,000);
- Lower Waipa River riparian planting project by the Whaingaroa Harbourcare group ($233,460);
- The Te Awa River Ride Charitable Trust for the creation of its river path development and river bank enhancement ($235,000);
The Authority’s two previous funding rounds have resulted in a total funding allocation of $10 million across 75 projects. Many of these have been completed or are multi-year projects.
The Waikato River Authority strongly advocates for an integrated and cohesive approach for clean-up activities across the river catchment. The Authority believes a coordinated effort will see a much more optimistic outcome for the river.
The Authority is a co-governance body established between the Crown and Waikato River iwi to restore and protect the Waikato River. The Authority covers a catchment area of 11,000 square kilometres for New Zealand's longest river. Over the next 27 years the Authority will administer $250 million to support the achievement of its purpose.
For further information contact:
Philip Burton, Communication Advisor, Waikato River Authority
021 428748 or 07 8397966