The Government is to provide a $208,000 Community Conservation Partnership Fund grant over three years to Project Tongariro to advance the restoration and preservation of the largest wetland in the Taupō basin, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today at a community event in Turangi.
“New Zealand has lost over 90 per cent of its wetlands yet they are some of the most important ecosystems for the protection of plants and animals. The conservation of the Te Matapuna wetland is hugely important with it being the largest wetland in the central North Island. The Department of Conservation is delighted to be partnering with Project Tongariro to tackle the major infestation of grey willow. This introduced species is displacing native plants and species, blocking the wetland and forcing permanent change. We need to remove these weeds and replace them with native plants,” Dr Smith says.
“I am also hugely grateful for the support from the Department of Corrections. Inmates will raise the seedlings which will then be planted as part of the restoration, and they will provide ongoing weed control and operational support. This Government is very keen to have departments working together on projects like this wetland restoration where we are helping to rehabilitate people as well as nature.
“The financial support from Government will help the Project Tongariro in the long-term to restore and maintain a range of wetland vegetation in their natural condition, to regenerate flora like riparian kahikatea and ribbonwood forest along stream and river margins, and to help raise public awareness of the importance of the their conservation.”
The Community Conservation Partnership Fund was announced in March this year and provides $26 million over the next four years to community organisations undertaking natural heritage and recreation projects. The Fund will support hundreds of projects on public and private land and is particularly focused on supporting efforts to protect biodiversity, natural habitats and native species.
“I particularly commend Project Tongariro, which has a long history of partnership with the Department on a number of conservation initiatives since its establishment 30 years ago. This type of collaborative approach reflects the spirit of the Community Conservation Partnership Fund, which seeks to encourage greater community involvement in conservation,” Dr Smith concluded.