Whitebait restoration and engaging youth a focus for $5m Waikato River Authority Funding

Whitebait restoration and engaging youth a focus for $5m Waikato River Authority Funding

The Waikato River Authority’s second funding round just announced has a focus on whitebait habitat restoration and engaging young people on river clean-up projects.

The Authority has just announced it’s funding for the 2012/13 year with a maximum of $4,985,009 allocated to 30 projects. The Authority will now work with the successful projects to determine the detailed final costs.

A five year-long project led by NIWA to restore whitebait habitat in the lower Waikato River has been allocated up to $1.5 million. The project is a partnership with other organisations, including the Waikato Raupatu River Trust. Additional co-funding of approximately $1.5 million will give the project a total budget $3 million over the five years.

The project is a comprehensive approach to whitebait restoration including work with local river communities to identify critical habitat issues and migration barriers. Best practice restoration solutions will integrate both traditional maatauranga Maaori and contemporary scientific approaches. The project will incorporate other existing whitebait projects already underway.

The Authority has also ear marked up to $250,000 for growing and planting of native trees and grasses to be undertaken by schools in the catchment. One of the projects is being overseen by the Waikato District Council and builds on the involvement of Waipa School, Glen Massey School, Bernard Fergusson School and the Newcastle and Galbraith Street Kindergartens. Another funded initiative by Trees for Survival Trust and Waikato Regional Council will involve up to 20 schools over a two year period which will involve the raising and planting of native vegetation on catchment waterways.

River Authority co-chairs Tukoroirangi Morgan and Hon John Luxton say they have been impressed with the quality of applications aiming to improve the river catchment.

“We are seeing an increase in the level of co-funding incorporated in projects. This year we have achieved 75 cents of co-funding for every River Authority funding dollar. This is an important element which enables the River Authority’s funds to go further and ultimately to have a greater positive impact on the river,” says Mr Luxton.

Tukoroirangi Morgan says the Authority is also keen to see more community groups come forward with river clean-up projects.

“Having our grass-roots community involved in restoring the river is vitally important. The more pride and belonging that can be generated towards the river the more likely we can achieve the vision of the river’s long term health and well being,” he says.

The River Authority has also funded a number of projects in the Waipa River Catchment following the passing of settlement legislation earlier in the year enabling the whole of that catchment to be part of the Authority’s vision and strategy.

The Waikato River Authority is a co-governance body established between the Crown and Waikato River iwi to restore and protect the health and well being of the 11,000 square kilometre Waikato River catchment. The government has committed $220 million over a 30-year period.

For more information contact:

Bob Penter
Chief Executive
Waikato River Authority
Ph: 07 8580412