$20,000 for lagoon sampling and improvement programme

Ecotago Charitable Trust’s Tomahawk Lagoon Citizen Science project technical manager Dr Jonathan...
Ecotago Charitable Trust’s Tomahawk Lagoon Citizen Science project technical manager Dr Jonathan Kim (left) and project lead facilitator Andrew Innes sit beside the lagoon on Tuesday. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON
A citizen science monitoring programme has been given a boost by the Otago Regional Council’s Eco Fund.

Ecotago Charitable Trust has received $20,000 in the latest funding round.

The fund supports community-driven projects that protect, enhance and promote Otago’s environment.

Ecotago’s funding would be used to support and continue its citizen science monitoring programme and introduce two new initiatives.

The first was to measure nitrate that was coming from the stream in the upper Tomahawk Lagoon in a flood event, project technical manager Dr Jonathan Kim said.

He was concerned about nitrate from farm animal faeces making its way into the lagoon, so a specific pump was needed to collect the water samples.

Later, they would do some riparian planting in a bid to mitigate any erosion.

"We have a plan but it’s just a matter of lining all our ducks up first so we know what we’re doing," project lead facilitator Andrew Innes said.

Afterwards, they could test to see if it was effective.

The aim was to do some restorative work and see if it, coupled with the day-to-day water quality work, would make a difference, Mr Innes said.

Mr Innes was pleased with the funding and described it as a "reflection of the relationship we have with the Otago Regional Council, which is really good".

Each year, the council had $250,000 available for community projects, split into two funding rounds.

There were 25 applications seeking about $300,000 this round.

Other Dunedin groups to receive funding were Chain Hills Restoration Trust, Dunedin Environment Centre Trust, The Open Valley Urban Ecosystems Project and the University of Otago’s Centre for Science Communication.

Eco Fund decision panel chairman Michael Deaker was pleased to see so much diversity and creativity in the applications.

"The 11 projects selected for funding will have real benefits all around the region for biodiversity, environmental enhancements and water quality," Cr Deaker said.

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