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Three funds offering grants for environmental work are now open and waiting for your application

The Department of Conservation, Environment Southland and QEII all have funding schemes that are now open for applications.

The DOC Community fund has approximately 4.6 million dollars a year to help support priority conservation work. The project funds on-the ground practical work such as pest control and weed control initiative. Several of our local projects have benefited from this fund in previous years, including the Omaui Landcare Trust, Stewart Island/Rakiura Coummunity and Environment Trust, Pomona Island, Forest Hill and The Hollyford Trust.

Expressions of interest are due on the 23rd June so now is the time to get your application in. See http://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/funding/doc-community-fund/ for more details.

The Environment Southland Environmental Enhancement Fund has recently been revamped. It is now easier to apply and the fund covers a wider range of restoration projects, from protecting significant habitat to creating areas of new habitat. There is no closing date for applications but the fund is first come, first serve so getting your application in now will help avoid disappointment http://www.es.govt.nz/council/funding-and-support/Pages/Environmental-Enhancement-Fund.aspx.

And finally, the Stephenson Fund is a new contestable fund recently set up by the QEII trust to help covenanters who are battling against damage from increasing pest numbers, regional weed issues or damage from natural disasters. The fund covers practical conservation work such as revegetation as well as infrastructure repairs and procurement of specialist advice. The fund is only available to people with a QEII covenant. Talk to your QEII rep or visit http://www.openspace.org.nz/Site/Managing_your_covenant/The_Stephenson_Covenant_Enhancement_Fund.aspx for funding details.

Are you struggling to decide what to plant? Nature Services may be able to help.

New Zealand has thousands of plant species so it can be hard decided what to include in your restoration project. Landcare Research have developed a new web tool that may be able to help.

The Nature Services website steps you through a series of questions about your site and then provides a species list of suitable local plants. The site is easy to use and provides lots of information about where the plants should go.

So, if you’re looking for inspiration this could be a great place to start

http://natureservices.landcareresearch.co.nz/app/

The Southland Community Nursery website is also a wealth of information. http://www.southlandcommunitynursery.org.nz/ The site includes all sorts of information and top tips on how to go about a restoration project. It also includes planting lists for a range of Southland sites from dunes and coastal areas to wetlands and forests. The lists have been developed by local ecologists so you can be sure the species they suggest are suitable for your site.

Remarkable recovery of kākā population

Thanks to over a decade of serious pest control, South Island kākā have made an extraordinary comeback in the Waitutu Forest.

Monitoring in the mid 2000s highlighted an extreme imbalance the population with males outnumbering females six to one. Female kākā and chicks are more vulnerable to possum and stoat attacks as they nested in tree cavities.

DOC scientist, Terry Greene, said a new population sample taken in December last year has revealed a four-fold increase in the proportion of female kākā and 20 times as many juveniles.

Mr Greene said the rebound was ‘phenomenal’ and showed a major programme of pest control in the Waitutu Forest was working.

Other forest birds such as robin and kākāriki have also benefitted from the pest control programme which included localised trapping and poisoning for stoats and possums and three treatments of aerially-applied 1080.

Article reference: Behind the Scenes, conservation in Fiordland (Department of Conservation) 24.03.2017.

Robins back on Bluff Hill/Motupohue

Congratulations to the Bluff/Motupohue Environment Trust on their excellent and dedicated predator control work over a number of years. The wonderful reward for their effort is outlined in the following report from Estelle Leask, Co-chairperson - “BHMET is very pleased to announce that after 8 years of hard work the translocation of the South Island Robin (Kakaruai) to Bluff Hill Motupōhue took place on March 1 and March 4. Volunteers from BHMET along with DOC staff travelled to Waikaia and caught 41 robins that were released into the forest; 23 on the first release and 18 on the second. It has been many decades since the call of the Kakaruai was heard on Ngai Tahu’s sacred Topuni site ‘Motupōhue’ and the Trust is thrilled to be fulfilling our pledge to “bring back the bird song” to Bluff Hill. This milestone is a credit to all the hard-working volunteers both past and present who have worked to control pest animal numbers; this is the ultimate reward for all our efforts. BHMET would like to acknowledge our partners, Blacks Fasteners Limited and ICC, for their generous support, to congratulate all our volunteers both past and present and to thank DOC and Environment Southland for their steadfast support. Next time you take a walk on the Glory track you may be lucky enough to hear or even see one.

FACTS - South Island robins are friendly and trusting, often coming to within a couple of metres of people, being attracted to invertebrates disturbed by the activities of people.

- The robin’s strong descending call of five or more notes is repeated often and makes their presence obvious.

- NZ robins are relatively long-lived, surviving up to 14 years where few or no predators exist.”