Teaming up to protect top of South

Government support for a mountain-to-sea landscape scale project to clean up rivers in the Marlborough Sounds will open up dozens of new job opportunities, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.
The Te Hoiere/Pelorus Catchment Restoration Project is one of three top-of-the-South initiatives receiving new funding through the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme, a multi-agency initiative with the purpose of creating nature-based employment in response to the economic impact of COVID-19.
“The community, including landowners, iwi, council, government agencies and businesses are already working together on the project, which covers more than 10,700 hectares of the Te Hoiere and Kaituna River and Cullen Creek catchments,” Kiri Allan said.
“The region is one of the country’s most scenic spots, with the Pelorus River used as backdrop during filming of scenes for the second of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy. We want to keep it that way.
“A  $7.5 million Government investment will mean the project crew can push on with the next phase,  accelerating river restoration work, planting, weed control, animal pest control and  habitat enhancement for native species such as pekapeka/bats, mioweka/banded rail and shortjaw kōkopu. It will create job starts for up to 79 people over four years.
“A nursery will also be established on Ngāti Kuia land to propagate and grow eco-sourced natives to be planted as part of the project.
“The second project, led by the global non-profit organisation The Nature Conservancy, in conjunction with DOC, the Tasman, Nelson City, Buller, and Marlborough councils involves wide-scale organised weed management across 35,000 hectares of the northern South Island and will explore the possibility of expanding the protection of some sites through QEII covenanting.
“Funding of $6m through Jobs for Nature will employ 29 people with mobilised teams who can work across different locations and provide support to public and private landowners in their aim to leave an environmental legacy we can all share in.
“And lastly, but definitely not least the Picton Dawn Chorus/ Te Atiawa o Te Waka-a-Maui community group will receive $700,000, enabling them to expand their predator trapping efforts from 415 to 4,815 hectares.
“In just five years this group has encouraged more than 600 people to trap predators in their backyards and has a team of 165 volunteers working in surrounding bush areas,
“The Jobs for Nature funding will mean eight people can be employed across three years to help with the regeneration of native birdlife, lizards, insects and forests.
“The top of the South Island has a rich and diverse landscape. These projects scale up the efforts of the wider community to retain that biodiversity and in doing so we all get to benefit,”  Kiri Allan said.
Background information
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global environmental non-profit organisation working to create a world where people and nature can thrive. Founded in the United States in 1951, TNC is involved in conservation in 72 countries and territories. TNC has partnered with Kotahitanga mō te Taiao to provide funding, science, global expertise and financial tools, and support engaging with stakeholders.
Other organisations involved in the Te Hoiere/Pelorus Catchment Restoration Project are Rangitāne o Wairau and other Te Tau Ihu iwi, the Ministry for the Environment, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Fonterra, the New Zealand Landcare Trust and Forest and Bird.

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