Ms Sage made the announcement at Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens in Dunedin while visiting the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Trust, an outstanding example of community conservation work receiving a $100,000 grant.
"The DOC Community Fund is designed to provide community conservation and recreation groups with an all-important boost to reach their goals for protecting native wildlife, restoring vital habitat and improving access to New Zealand's outdoors," Ms Sage says.
"The Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Trust's work is an inspiring example of community action, with their efforts to protect the Peninsula's distinctive wildlife from predators.
"The richness of the peninsula's biodiversity must be nurtured and protected. Yellow-eyed and little penguins make their home here, and it has the world's largest mainland albatross colony, not to mention spoonbills, plovers, herons and jewelled geckoes."
To date the group has removed 12,600 possums through volunteer efforts, part of a programme to permanently reduce possum numbers across the peninsula.
The new Community Fund grant will allow the group to increase the number of volunteers and expand their predator control efforts.
"Ultimately the group hopes to make the entire Otago Peninsula pest free – projects like this are crucial if we are to achieve a Predator Free New Zealand by 2050," Ms Sage says.
Other recipients of this year's funding include:
Project Crimson Trust - Trees That Count Community Partnerships ($300,000)
A conservation campaign to inspire New Zealanders to restore the environment, clean waterways, encourage native biodiversity and make a tangible difference to climate change by planting millions of native trees.
Windy Hill Rosalie Bay Catchment Trust - GB Predator Free - War on weeds, rats, and feral cats ($40,000)
Windy Hill Sanctuary’s objective is to sustain and improve the biodiversity of the south eastern end of Aotea Great Barrier Island with a particular focus on birds and be a working model of a community-based conservation project for Predator Free NZ 2050 on Great Barrier Island.
Te Rarawa Anga Mua - Warawara Titipounamu protection project ($106,700)
Warawara is home to the only mainland population of titipounamu/rifleman north of Te Aroha/Pureora and is under threat from invasive predators. An intensive control programme is planned to protect and strengthen the population.
Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society - Re-establishing Kokako on Mt Pirongia ($40,000)
A project to re-establish kokako on Mount Pirongia and transfer 40 birds from Pureora and Tiritiri Matangi Island, including birds descended from kokako that were removed from Pirongia in the 1990's.
Full list of DOC Community Fund recipients