Government funding to combat erosion

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GISBORNE’S erosion-prone land and environment will benefit from $7.4 million in government funding announced this week.

The funding comes from the Ministry for Primary Industry’s Erosion Control Funding Programme (ECFP), which helps Gisborne landowners and community groups improve erosion-prone land.

It is a $5m leap in funding from last year, attributed to MPI expanding the criteria for funding, which previously was only for land with the most extreme erosion.

Last year 37 properties received $2.4m to cover 1438ha, while this year’s 32 projects cover 4893ha.

Gisborne has the worst eroding land in the country because of poor soil quality and the increasing frequency of adverse weather events.

About 26 percent of the district is susceptible to severe erosion, compared to eight percent nationally.

The funding will allow landowners to plant trees or retire land to regenerate native bush in order to return the land to a productive and sustainable state.

Forestry minister Shane Jones welcomed the funding.

“This Government has committed to planting one billion trees over the next 10 years, which, among other benefits, will help enormously with the issue of eroding land.

“Soil erosion costs New Zealand about $100-$200 million every year through loss of productive capacity and damage to infrastructure and waterways.”

Mayor Meng Foon said the government investment was good news for the district.

“Erosion control is really important and plantings will also enhance water quality and support our region to be carbon neutral.”

Further regional development projects

He looked forward to meeting Mr Jones in Gisborne to discuss other regional development projects.

The programme, in partnership with Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou (TRONPnui) and Gisborne District Council (GDC), allows landowners to apply for grants to plant manuka and eucalyptus as well as pine and Douglas fir, and to revert land to native forest.

The scheme intends to target the worst erosion-prone land and provide landowners with additional income.

It replaced the former 20-year-old East Coast Forestry Protection Scheme that treated 39,000ha of erosion-prone land over its lifetime.

Since 1992, MPI has provided $49 million to Gisborne in erosion control, covering 42,000ha.

MPI deputy director-general of sector partnerships and programmes Ben Dalton said they needed to address Gisborne’s erosion-prone land now to ensure the land remained productive and sustainable for future generations.

“Severe erosion causes long-term damage to land productivity, infrastructure, water quality and rural businesses and communities.

“For the region to grow, we need to protect our natural resources. Gisborne has great potential for further primary sector economic growth but in many cases erosion adversely affects productivity.

“Our erosion control funding provides landowners with effective ways to control erosion through tree planting and the retirement of land to regenerate native bush.

“Land quality and productivity can be improved so it can be handed on to the next generation in as good, or better condition than it was received.”

MPI also runs a number of programmes to encourage landowners across the country to plant on erodible land, including the Afforestation Grant Scheme and Sustainable Land Management Hill Country Erosion Fund.

GDC environmental and science manager Lois Easton said the increase in funding was due to MPI relaxing the criteria, with land beyond the extreme erosion (Overlay 3A) category now able to apply for assistance.

About 6500 hectares of Overlay 3A land was still untreated.

“That land is still the priority for erosion treatment under the scheme and the council, TRONPNui and MPI staff are working actively with landowners with this land to both get it into the ECFP and ensure the treatment is undertaken on the ground,” Ms Easton said.

GISBORNE’S erosion-prone land and environment will benefit from $7.4 million in government funding announced this week.

The funding comes from the Ministry for Primary Industry’s Erosion Control Funding Programme (ECFP), which helps Gisborne landowners and community groups improve erosion-prone land.

It is a $5m leap in funding from last year, attributed to MPI expanding the criteria for funding, which previously was only for land with the most extreme erosion.

Last year 37 properties received $2.4m to cover 1438ha, while this year’s 32 projects cover 4893ha.

Gisborne has the worst eroding land in the country because of poor soil quality and the increasing frequency of adverse weather events.

About 26 percent of the district is susceptible to severe erosion, compared to eight percent nationally.

The funding will allow landowners to plant trees or retire land to regenerate native bush in order to return the land to a productive and sustainable state.

Forestry minister Shane Jones welcomed the funding.

“This Government has committed to planting one billion trees over the next 10 years, which, among other benefits, will help enormously with the issue of eroding land.

“Soil erosion costs New Zealand about $100-$200 million every year through loss of productive capacity and damage to infrastructure and waterways.”

Mayor Meng Foon said the government investment was good news for the district.

“Erosion control is really important and plantings will also enhance water quality and support our region to be carbon neutral.”

Further regional development projects

He looked forward to meeting Mr Jones in Gisborne to discuss other regional development projects.

The programme, in partnership with Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou (TRONPnui) and Gisborne District Council (GDC), allows landowners to apply for grants to plant manuka and eucalyptus as well as pine and Douglas fir, and to revert land to native forest.

The scheme intends to target the worst erosion-prone land and provide landowners with additional income.

It replaced the former 20-year-old East Coast Forestry Protection Scheme that treated 39,000ha of erosion-prone land over its lifetime.

Since 1992, MPI has provided $49 million to Gisborne in erosion control, covering 42,000ha.

MPI deputy director-general of sector partnerships and programmes Ben Dalton said they needed to address Gisborne’s erosion-prone land now to ensure the land remained productive and sustainable for future generations.

“Severe erosion causes long-term damage to land productivity, infrastructure, water quality and rural businesses and communities.

“For the region to grow, we need to protect our natural resources. Gisborne has great potential for further primary sector economic growth but in many cases erosion adversely affects productivity.

“Our erosion control funding provides landowners with effective ways to control erosion through tree planting and the retirement of land to regenerate native bush.

“Land quality and productivity can be improved so it can be handed on to the next generation in as good, or better condition than it was received.”

MPI also runs a number of programmes to encourage landowners across the country to plant on erodible land, including the Afforestation Grant Scheme and Sustainable Land Management Hill Country Erosion Fund.

GDC environmental and science manager Lois Easton said the increase in funding was due to MPI relaxing the criteria, with land beyond the extreme erosion (Overlay 3A) category now able to apply for assistance.

About 6500 hectares of Overlay 3A land was still untreated.

“That land is still the priority for erosion treatment under the scheme and the council, TRONPNui and MPI staff are working actively with landowners with this land to both get it into the ECFP and ensure the treatment is undertaken on the ground,” Ms Easton said.

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