Horizons Regional Freshwater Community Grant open for applications

Horizons Regional Council has announced applications for its Regional Freshwater Community Grant open today, Friday 14 June 2024.

Funding is available to community groups with projects which encourage engagement with freshwater, education around water quality issues, or projects which involve interventions to improve water quality. There is $200,000 available through the fund for the new financial year. 
Horizons chair Rachel Keedwell says improving freshwater quality is one of Horizons’ priority areas.
“Our vision for this grant is to enable community groups to deliver projects which encourage education, engagement, and innovation in freshwater quality.
“Being able to provide financial aid via a contestable fund targeted at community groups is a great way to empower people to get their projects off the ground,” says Cr Keedwell.
Horizons councillor Wiremu Te Awe Awe says last year the fund was expanded to accept applications from across the region.
“When working with communities, we often hear a range of ideas from people who are working with and around our waterways. However, funding is a frequent roadblock which often halts progress.
“We’re committed to understanding and embracing our communities shared knowledge and experiences of freshwater, including mātauranga Māori to enable us to look after our freshwater better,” says Cr Te Awe Awe.
Last year’s successful applicants include: Mana Ariki Marae Trust, Taumarunui; Mangatapu Farm, Sanson; Tarapuruhi Bushy Park Trust, Whanganui; Environment Network Manawatū, Palmerston North; Te Roopu Taiao o Ngati Whakatere Trust, Shannon; and Koopuutara Trust, Foxton.
Mana Ariki Marae Trust, a 40 hectare marae near Taumarunui, is the largest marae in Aotearoa. They sought funding for about 140m of riparian restoration including removal of willows and enhancing in-stream habitat for kōura through the placement of rocks and logs. Also funded was signage telling the story of the kōura and their significance in the stream.
The Mangatapu Farm project, near Sanson, aims to re-establish a native-based ecosystem around the Mingaroa Stream that feeds into the Rangitīkei River. Planting along and above Mingaroa waterway will ultimately connect with 20 hectares of QEII Trust protected native bush upstream. 
With their funding, Tarapuruhi Bushy Park sought to enhance the practical experience of freshwater biodiversity and water quality education via new educational resources and signage in co-ordination with Ngaa Rauru.
Environment Network Manawatū applied for funding to help current and new community partners to set up kaitiaki events to clean up local streams and adjoining parks and reserves whilst educating people about the impact litter in these spaces has on waterways.
Te Roopu Taiao o Ngati Whakatere Trust received funding for approximately 1,500 plants at Te Maire Lagoon, near Shannon. The community-led Te Maire Lagoon Restoration Project is an ongoing project to restore the health of the wetland for environmental and cultural reasons with the intention of the wetland becoming a site for research and education.
Koopuutara Trust, Foxton, used their funding to complete fencing around Lake Koopuutara and surrounding wetlands, as well as further planting. This project is helping restore mana to mana whenua, while protecting their whenua and roto. 
Funding for this grant opens on Friday 14 June 2024 and closes on Friday 19 July 2024 at 5pm. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of August 2024. To be eligible for funding, projects will need to be completed by 30 June 2025. 
To learn more about the new Regional Freshwater Community Grant, find details on eligibility criteria and apply, visit Horizons website https://www.horizons.govt.nz/about-our-region-and-council/grants-and-sponsorship/freshwater-community-grant