Friday, 21 August 2015 10:04

River clean-up funding on offer

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The Waikato River Authority has received 57 applications to fund river clean-up projects totaling more than $14 million in its fifth funding round.

Projects dedicated to wetland restoration have a strong showing.

Applications for the authority's funding closed at the end of last week; up to $6 million available for initiatives that help restore or protect the Waikato and Waipa rivers.

Waikato River Authority chief executive Bob Penter says it is encouraging to see both the quantity and the quality of applications.

"We are particularly heartened to see the number of wetland restoration projects. This is one of our key strategic priorities and so to see this alignment from the people and organisations who are wanting to undertake clean-up projects is very encouraging," he says.

Penter says there is also a good range of projects both in dollar terms and in the areas that they are focusing on. "To date we have seen a number of applications from the dairy industry, which have been welcome, and this year we are also seeing the dry stock farming sector represented in the applications. This could prove another significant step forward in helping the health and wellbeing of the river," he says.

Project applications have come with a strong level of additional funding support. While $14 million is being sought from the authority the total value of projects is close to $30 million.

The applications will now undergo an independent evaluation process. The evaluation panel will make recommendations to a sub-committee of the authority who in turn will then make the final funding recommendations to authority's board. It is intended that successful project applicants will be announced by the end of November.

In the previous four years of funding, the Waikato River Authority has allocated about $22 million to 137 individual projects. The authority advocates for an integrated and cohesive approach for clean-up activities across the river catchment, that covers 11,000 sq km.

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