$310K available for environmental efforts

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ENVIRONMENT: Waiotahe Valley School students took part in a planting day. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
ENVIRONMENT: Waiotahe Valley School students took part in a planting day. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Locals wanting to help care for land, air, water or wildlife in the Bay of Plenty are being invited to apply to the $310,000 Bay of Plenty Regional Council 2016/17 Environmental Enhancement Fund.

Fund Coordinator Edward Sykes said that funding grants are available for a range of activities including native planting, pest and weed control, wetland restoration and sustainability initiatives. Funding is allocated on a first in, first served basis to eligible projects.

"We offer seed funding to help locals get their great ideas off the ground or to take their existing efforts to the next level. It's great to be able to support some of the hard-working volunteers that are making a real difference to their communities and the environment they love," he said.

The 2016/17 funding round opened last month so interested groups or individuals should get their applications in as soon as possible to avoid missing out this year.

Mr Sykes said that while there are criteria that applicants have to meet, the fund is basically open to all community, iwi and hapū groups, or any individuals with a good idea and energy to see it through.

One of last year's successful recipients was Maromahue Marae who received funding to eradicate and control weeds along the embankment below the Marae. Maromahue Marae Coordinator Wiki Mooney says the funding kicked the project into gear and a lot has been achieved as a result.

"Across two planting days, with local kura Waiōtahe Valley School and Te Kura o Kutarere, we transformed an area covered in dense weeds to natives. Much of the vegetation we put into the ground were rongoa plants and will be utilised for their medical properties. If you have an environmental project in the Bay of Plenty that is in need of a financial boost I strongly urge you to get in touch with the Regional Council and apply" he said.

The Environmental Enhancement Fund aims to support community-based environmental projects on publicly accessible land in the Bay of Plenty.

The fund is focused on supporting the enthusiasm and skills of the community to improve the environment and raise environmental awareness.

The Fund accepts applications for grants of up to $25,000 per year for up to three years per project.

For more information about the fun and how to apply visit www.boprc.govt.nz/eef or call Eddie Sykes on 0800 884 880.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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