Grant good for health of high country

A "win-win" situation for all involved is how Ahuriri Valley Jim Morris describes Environment Canterbury's environment enhancement fund.

Applications opened last month and landowners and groups working to protect and enhance native biodiversity throughout the region have until August 31 to apply for contestable grants of up to $5000.

This year, the fund has $224,727 available for grants, with $175,000 being proposed by Environment Canterbury (Ecan) and $49,727 from the Honda TreeFund.

Financial assistance can be granted for any project on private land that contributes to the region's indigenous biodiversity, and on public land through the Honda TreeFund.

It usually involves the protection or enhancement of waterways, wetlands, coastal dunes and native vegetation.

Mr Morris and his wife, Mary-Ann, received $3000 from the fund last year and plan to do some native planting next spring, in a wetland area Mr Morris has fenced off adjacent to Birchwood Rd.

ECan resource care officer Melanie Schauer welcomed calls from landholders, school and community groups wanting to apply for funding to assist them in enhancement and protection projects in the upper Waitaki catchment.

"There are many landholders out there who are committed to ensuring the land and water is left in a better state than when they found it.

I believe many landholders take this stewardship role very seriously," she said.

Some of the successful 2008 projects around Canterbury included. -

• 380 metres of fencing materials to restrict stock access and enhance water quality along Police Creek, a tributary of the Okana Stream at Little River.

• Creation of a new habitat for the threatened Canterbury mudfish in an unused water race near Ashburton.

• Funding towards native plants from the Honda TreeFund to attract native birds and animals to the Waihaorunga School grounds near Waimate.

• Native plants for a riparian enhancement project along the Waikakihi Stream near Waimate.

• Fencing materials to protect a significant remnant native bush area in Cheviot, which includes 500-year-old totara trees.

Landholders wanting to apply for funding to fence waterways or protect wetlands on farms can contact Melanie Schauer on (03) 435 0491 or 027 230 3745.

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