Three Conservation groups from Stewart Island will receive close to $140,000 in funding from the Department of Conservation’s Community Fund this year.
The Stewart Island/Rakiura Community and Environment Trust, the Rakiura Māori Lands Trust, and the Southland Branch New Zealand Deerstalkers Association will receive funding for their pest control and restoration projects.
DOC’s Operations Manager for Rakiura Bridget Carter says the dedicated conservation efforts of these volunteer groups on Stewart Island is making a significant impact towards restoring biodiversity on the island.
“The DOC Community Fund helps the groups achieve their goals and provides support through funding, which can be applied practically.”
These three groups are contributing to restoring our native wildlife and plants by controlling predators and pests on Stewart Island. The primary focus is controlling possums, rats and cats which, importantly, will support the recovery of many of our species and their habitats.
“The benefits will be visible to residents and visitors to the island,” says Bridget Carter. “These are ongoing projects with significant voluntary commitment from these groups and I am thrilled with their successful funding.”
The DOC Community Fund is directed at practical, on-the-ground projects which maintain and restore the diversity of our natural heritage and enable more people to participate in recreation, engage with conservation and value its benefits.
The Fund was set up in 2014 to distribute $26 million over four years to inspire and enable community-led conservation projects around New Zealand.
About $4 million has been allocated in the latest funding round (2016).
Applications for the next round of the DOC Community Fund will be called for in coming months.
Groups to receive funding
Stewart Island/Rakiura Community and Environment Trust
Halfmoon Bay Habitat Restoration Project: $78,072 over three years
“This project was initiated in 2002, controls possums, rats and feral cats on private and public land around Halfmoon Bay. To date 210ha comprised of over 200 land titles has coordinated pest control. Sustained control has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of native birds present around the township. In areas outside of the project’s protection, forest bird numbers have remained lower, a strong indication that our control is benefiting bird populations.”
Rakiura Māori Lands Trust
The Neck Pest Control 2016/17: $50,000 over one year
The Neck Pest Control project aims to reduce the number of possums, rats and feral cats on the Neck peninsula through trapping and poisoning programmes. This will help protect the strong population of kiwi and hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) successfully breeding there every year.
Rakiura Māori Lands Trust website
Southland Branch New Zealand Deerstalkers Association
Mason Bay Project: $8,691 over three years
“This is an ongoing integrated pest control programme undertaken by members of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (Southland Branch) in collaboration with the Department of Conservation at Mason Bay, Rakiura National Park. This shall include the marking, placement, monitoring and maintenance of traps at Mason Bay, and as detailed in the annual animal control plan developed in conjunction with DOC.
It includes bird monitoring in order to create a baseline dataset. Four indicator bird species have been chosen, bellbird, tomtit, Stewart Island robin and parakeets.”
Southland Branch New Zealand Deerstalkers Association website