Horizons Regional Council will get $18.4 million in Government funding to put toward three environmental projects - part of $162 million for regional councils nationwide.

The money will build on work already underway - such as riparian planting and stream fencing to improve freshwater, better fish passages to enhance native fish populations, and a Lake Horowhenua wetlands project to improve the lake's water quality.

These projects have a total cost to Horizons of over $27 million. Central government's investment of $18.4 million will go a long way towards progressing them and will create 185 new jobs over their life, Horizons chairwoman Rachel Keedwell said.

Horizons' current riparian planting and stream fencing programme has targeted the delivery of almost 80km of fencing and over 63,000 riparian plants per year.


"In recent years, we have been unable to meet the demand for fencing and planting on farms. Central government's investment of $4.6 million towards our $11.3m programme will allow for more funding and staff resource to scale up," Keedwell said.

The additional money will enable 125 new jobs over the next five years, and the 405km of fencing and planting of 375,000 riparian plants will help target nutrient and E. coli loads in waterways, increase aquatic habitat and decrease stream temperatures and bank erosion.

The other region-wide programme to receive funding is Horizons' remediation of native fish migration barriers. Government's Jobs for Nature funding adds $2.5 million into a $3.2 million programme.

"This investment will allow for the removal of at least 25 barriers, opening up 1250 kilometres of stream habitat for migratory fish. This will increase native fish numbers and distribution, improve aquatic habitat and increase kākahi (freshwater mussel) populations," Keedwell said.

It could also create 15 new jobs.

The third project to receive funding is a wetland complex and other water quality interventions at Lake Horowhenua.

The $11.2 million for that will go towards a five-year, $12.5 million project, targeted at reducing nitrogen concentrations in Lake Horowhenua and the Arawhata Stream.

"The wetland idea has been developed over time by an alliance involving Horizons and Horowhenua District Council, horticulture growers, iwi and environmental groups, with 45 new jobs expected as a result of the project," Keedwell said.