Farmer-led freshwater projects get $6 million funding boost

A project to improve the health of the Lindis River received $772,000 in funding.
A project to improve the health of the Lindis River received $772,000 in funding. Photo credit: Getty

Projects helping farmers improve the health of rivers, wetlands and habitat biodiversity in Canterbury and Otago are set to get a $6 million funding boost.

Four farmer-led catchment groups have been allocated between $176,000 and $2.3 million as part of the Jobs for Nature initiative.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said most of the groups are being led by established catchment groups with hundreds of farmer members.

The work will involve fencing and planting around water bodies, clearing of unsuitable trees, and pest control. Projects also include building a wetland boardwalk, and structures to protect endangered fish from predator species.

The projects are set to employ between 15 and 20 people as well as specialist contractors over the next three years.

Funding of $2.9 million will also be given to help around 300 Hurunui farmers to develop their farm environment plans.

The funding will enable the Hurunui District Landcare Group and its members to partner with rural professionals to provide advice and support to their catchment members, O'Connor said.

"Hurunui farmers have had a particularly tough few years, with the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake causing thousands of landslides and significant damage to large areas of land.

"This project will help farmers recover and prepare for the future through developing the farm environment plans that will help improve their farms' productivity and sustainability."

Three people will be employed through this project.

The Jobs for Nature projects include:

  • North Otago Sustainable Land Management Riparian Project  $362,000
  • Lindis River project, Otago  $772,000
  • Pomahaka Wetland Restoration project, South Otago  $176,000
  • The Tinaku project, Ellesmere, Canterbury  $2.2 million