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Published: 2011-06-03 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council has given nine community projects a boost, with a combined total of $208,500 being awarded from the environmental initiatives fund (EIF).

Chairman Peter Buckley said the majority of the funding recipients were volunteer-run community groups working to improve the environment.

“It is rewarding to see so many people who care about the community giving up their time to work with others to carry out this worthwhile work.”

Cr Buckley said the value of the community’s own contribution of time and effort far out-weighed the funding given by the regional council to these projects.

The following projects were awarded funding:

  • The National Wetlands Trust was awarded $120,000 over three years for costs associated with the development of a state of the art national wetland centre at Lake Serpentine, near Ohaupo south of Hamilton. The centre will educate people about the values of and threats to wetlands throughout New Zealand.
  •  Kawhia Community Trust is working to address the proliferation of exotic weeds throughout the west coast community. The volunteer group then intends planting the cleared area with native shrubs, including coastal species. The project has been awarded $6000 for the purchase of more than 1700 native plants.
  •  The Otorohanga Zoological Society will use $2000 to evaluate the Ruakuri Bush Scenic Reserve for its suitability for the flightless brown weka. The group’s long term hope is to reintroduce breeding weka to the Waitomo Caves catchment.
  •  Since 2002 the Coromandel Coastal Walkways Society has been working to establish tracks and public access on the peninsula, as well as carrying out planting and ecological restoration work. The $7500 awarded by the council will be used to remove wilding pines and other weeds from the wetland at Rings Beach as part of a restoration plan.
  •  Council awarded $6500 to Sustainable Cambridge, which will study the feasibility of a community-managed recycling centre. Sustainable Cambridge expects to report back to the community later this year.
  • The volunteer group, Pirongia Restoration Society, has received $12,000 to fund a programme to reintroduce the North Island robin (toutouwai) to Pirongia Forest Park. The society has been working to eradicate pests and aims to translocate 60 birds from Pureora Forest Park to the Mangakaraa catchment by April 2012.
  •  The Whaingaroa Environment Centre has received $21,000 for the development and implementation of a water and energy conservation programme around Raglan. 
  • The Pukawa Wildlife Management Trust, established in 2002, has been awarded $3500 for the development and printing of brochures describing the walks and wildlife around Pukawa and Omori, on the shores of Lake Taupo. The trust has been working to control pests and restore the area’s native bird population and natural flora. 
  • Council awarded $30,000 to the Waikato River Trails Trust for the improvement of the 2ha Huihuitaha wetland adjacent to Lake Karapiro, as well as a gully restoration adjacent to Lake Maraetai.