Easier access to $2.4m erosion funding

Changes have increased eligibility for East Coast landowners.

Changes have increased eligibility for East Coast landowners.

Erosion damage in hill country. File picture

THE Ministry for Primary Industries has made improvements to a Gisborne-based scheme to allow landowners on erosion-prone land to receive more than $2 million in upfront grants.

The ministry announced two new changes to the Erosion Control Funding Programme (ECFP), which will give landowners access to upfront funding to combat erosion. The programme will be extended to include more land.

Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon is happy with the new criteria for the scheme.

“This will mean more land will be able to be planted in a number of tree species to mitigate erosion,” he said.

Gisborne District Council brought this matter to the attention of MPI Minister Nathan Guy.

“He has listened to our concerns. I know a number of areas that were in pines are now planted in manuka trees for the manuka industry.”

The ECFP has been running since 1992. It is focused on reducing the severe erosion problem facing the Gisborne district, which is susceptible to regular high-intensity weather events that cause soil erosion and downstream flooding.

The ECFP was reviewed earlier this year to understand the barriers stopping land owners from taking up the funding available, and to develop initiatives to deliver the best outcomes for the Gisborne region.

MPI investment programmes director Justine Gilliland said feedback from Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou, GDC and current and potential ECFP grantees confirmed the single biggest barrier to uptake was the lack of up-front funding available.

“As a result, the MPI will be changing the payment structure to enable grant payments to be aligned with when grantees actually incur costs.”

MPI expected the change would substantially reduce the financial borrowing burden for grantees.

“This change will enable more landowners across the region to participate in the scheme and treat their erosion-prone land.”

The new payment structure will be offered to those landowners successful in the 2016 funding round, and in future rounds.

MPI approved $2.39m of ECFP funding in October, covering more than 1400 hectares of erosion-prone land.

About 25 percent of land on the East Coast is susceptible to erosion, compared with 8 percent nationally, but the funding scheme allows landowners to apply for grants to plant manuka and eucalyptus, as well as pine and Douglas fir.

The scheme intends to target the worst erosion-prone land and provide landowners with additional income. It replaces the 20-year-old East Coast Forestry Protection Scheme that treated 39,000ha of erosion-prone land over its lifetime. Around 36,000 hectares remain to be treated, much of which is in the Waiapu catchment.

The second new improvement involves extending the land categories that are eligible for the scheme, broadening the amount of land available for erosion treatment.

“By widening the eligibility, we can support land owners with various degrees of erosion problems, from moderate through to severe.”

This change will take effect from the next ECFP funding round, which is scheduled for May-June of 2017.

“MPI is continuing to work with Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou and Gisborne District Council to discuss other ways in which the ECFP can deliver the best outcomes for the Gisborne district.”

THE Ministry for Primary Industries has made improvements to a Gisborne-based scheme to allow landowners on erosion-prone land to receive more than $2 million in upfront grants.

The ministry announced two new changes to the Erosion Control Funding Programme (ECFP), which will give landowners access to upfront funding to combat erosion. The programme will be extended to include more land.

Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon is happy with the new criteria for the scheme.

“This will mean more land will be able to be planted in a number of tree species to mitigate erosion,” he said.

Gisborne District Council brought this matter to the attention of MPI Minister Nathan Guy.

“He has listened to our concerns. I know a number of areas that were in pines are now planted in manuka trees for the manuka industry.”

The ECFP has been running since 1992. It is focused on reducing the severe erosion problem facing the Gisborne district, which is susceptible to regular high-intensity weather events that cause soil erosion and downstream flooding.

The ECFP was reviewed earlier this year to understand the barriers stopping land owners from taking up the funding available, and to develop initiatives to deliver the best outcomes for the Gisborne region.

MPI investment programmes director Justine Gilliland said feedback from Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou, GDC and current and potential ECFP grantees confirmed the single biggest barrier to uptake was the lack of up-front funding available.

“As a result, the MPI will be changing the payment structure to enable grant payments to be aligned with when grantees actually incur costs.”

MPI expected the change would substantially reduce the financial borrowing burden for grantees.

“This change will enable more landowners across the region to participate in the scheme and treat their erosion-prone land.”

The new payment structure will be offered to those landowners successful in the 2016 funding round, and in future rounds.

MPI approved $2.39m of ECFP funding in October, covering more than 1400 hectares of erosion-prone land.

About 25 percent of land on the East Coast is susceptible to erosion, compared with 8 percent nationally, but the funding scheme allows landowners to apply for grants to plant manuka and eucalyptus, as well as pine and Douglas fir.

The scheme intends to target the worst erosion-prone land and provide landowners with additional income. It replaces the 20-year-old East Coast Forestry Protection Scheme that treated 39,000ha of erosion-prone land over its lifetime. Around 36,000 hectares remain to be treated, much of which is in the Waiapu catchment.

The second new improvement involves extending the land categories that are eligible for the scheme, broadening the amount of land available for erosion treatment.

“By widening the eligibility, we can support land owners with various degrees of erosion problems, from moderate through to severe.”

This change will take effect from the next ECFP funding round, which is scheduled for May-June of 2017.

“MPI is continuing to work with Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou and Gisborne District Council to discuss other ways in which the ECFP can deliver the best outcomes for the Gisborne district.”

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