The support comes from DOC’s Community Conservation Partnerships Fund (CCPF) – DOC’s largest ever funding commitment to community conservation.
The fund is in its second round of annual grants to support community organisations involved in natural heritage and recreation projects. This year’s allocation brings total grants over the past two years to more than $16 million.
DOC's Director-General Lou Sanson says practical, on-the-ground conservation projects across the country have been funded, ranging from groups looking after rare birds such as kiwi and kōkako, to clubs helping to renovate and maintain backcountry huts and community initiatives to restore local wetlands and wildlife.
“Directly supporting these community organisations means we will see more conservation work, more New Zealanders active in the outdoors and more people aware of our country’s unique conservation challenges,” says Lou Sanson.
“For example, animal pest control is a frontline community conservation effort and DOC’s Community Conservation Fund has granted more than $2 million this year towards local groups who are working to improve the natural habitat by reducing the impact of rats, stoats and possums.”
“Communities can make a real difference by their efforts and nature has a chance to recover and reinforce its place in our values.”
A further $226 000 is targeted directly to support community-based kiwi projects including a grant to Te Rarawa in Northland to target dog kiwi aversion training in the Far North.
“Many kiwi are lost to dog attacks in Northland and Te Rarawa have pledged to make a difference in this kiwi stronghold. DOC and local councils are really pleased to be able to work with communities to facilitate change.” says Lou Sanson.
Weed control is a major ongoing conservation problem and the fund has this year granted $1.25 million for plant pest projects.
“We have a co-ordinated ‘War on Weeds’ and organisations like the QEII National Trust and the Weedbusters programme will create communities caring about their natural heritage and getting involved in conservation.”
One of the biggest single grants goes to build on the successful work of the New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium. This amalgamation of tramping, climbing, hunting and biking clubs receives $500 000 to extend their programme of working with DOC to maintain backcountry huts and tracks.
“Backcountry users are passionate about our outdoor heritage and this funding is a simple, practical way of enabling them to get involved in its care.”
“I’m delighted at the level of interest from communities across New Zealand in getting involved in local conservation projects and warmly congratulate those that have successfully secured funding for their projects. I look forward to the conservation gains that will stem from the opportunities that the fund has created” Lou Sanson says.
The purpose of DOC’s Community Conservation Partnerships Fund - Pūtea Tautiaki Hapori (CCPF) is to inspire and enable community-led conservation growth.
The fund is directed at projects that maintain and restore the diversity of our natural heritage and enable more people to participate in recreation, enjoy and learn from our historic places, and engage with and value the benefits of conservation.
The fund, announced in March 2014, has approximately $26 million dollars to distribute to community groups for priority conservation work.