Ministry for Environment announced that two critical enhancement projects for degraded lakes in Hawke's Bay were being considered for significant funding grants yesterday.
Lake Tutira, north of Napier and Wairoa's Lake Whakaki were both gaining further consideration for funding from the ministry's Freshwater Improvement Fund, on top of council's Annual Plan "hotspot" funding.
The beleaguered Lake Tutira's action plan required a total $3,553,861 spread over five years, including $1,580,080 from the council. A total of $1.5 million had been applied for from the ministry.
The project aims to improve the lake quality with regards to the pressures including erosion, excessive nutrient loading, poor water flow, loss of connectivity and restricted fish passage, which have negatively affected the mauri of lakes Tutira and Waikopiro.
The funding will go towards developing an Integrated Catchment Management Plan, develop and implement farm environmental management plans throughout the catchment, reconnect Papakiri Stream to Lake Tutira, install an oxygenation system and implement a mauri monitoring programme.
Lake Whakaki's total project cost is $2.8m spread over five years and $1.3m has been applied for from the ministry.
Whakaki is the largest freshwater lagoon on the east coast of the North Island and has a Sites of Special Wildlife Interest ranking of "high".
The project proposes a recirculating wetland, the establishment of 80ha of manuka plantation and complete stock exclusion from the lagoon's perimeter. Irrigation of manuka will occur from the silt-laden water to produce high value honey.
Resource management group manager Iain Maxwell said this was a positive signal and a step towards much better water quality.
Both projects have had strong community and stakeholder support and Mr Maxwell said much of the work needed to be done for these applications was at extremely short notice.
Next stage consideration meant working closely with the team at the ministry on a detailed work programme, an annual plan and completing a number of project and co-ordination tasks. It was expected to be about three to six months before the funding was formally secured.
This good news comes to two of the regional council's four applications to the Freshwater Improvement Fund with funding applications for the Ahuriri Estuary and the Tukituki catchment unsuccessful.