Bay of Plenty Regional Council, on behalf of the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme is asking for expressions of interest from landowners, researchers and the general public to help come up with solutions to reduce the amount of nitrogen entering Lake Rotorua from land use activities.
The Low Nitrogen Land Use Fund of $3.3 million is jointly funded by Regional Council and Ministry for the Environment (MfE) with $1.5 million of that offered in the first round. The fund will support landowners with making their required nitrogen reductions as part of the long term solution to protect Lake Rotorua water quality.
Anna Grayling, Regional Council’s principal advisor Rotorua Catchments, invites individuals and groups with an idea or initiative that could make a difference to contact Regional Council.
“This could be landowners who have successfully reduced nitrogen on their farm or professionals who want to trial a proven crop or land use.
“We know there are people out there devoting much of their time to the science behind reducing the amount of nitrogen reaching waterways and we want to share that information with others.
Proposals to promote initiatives that have already shown to be working in the Lake Rotorua catchment, research in to how initiatives working in other areas could be implemented in Rotorua, and new initiatives that haven’t yet been formally investigated will be considered.
“Some landowners may need to make significant changes to what they are currently doing and we want to ensure that they are provided with credible information that enables them to make informed decisions about what they do on their land.”
Staff will evaluate expressions of interest to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria and successful applicants will be asked to submit a full application for funding. Expressions of interest close on May 20, 2016.
The Low Nitrogen Land Use Fund is delivered under the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme. The purpose of the unique programme is to enable a sustainable economic, lifestyle and cultural future for 12 of the lakes in the Rotorua district.
To reach water quality standards set with the community for Lake Rotorua a reduction of 320 tonnes of nitrogen entering Lake Rotorua is required. The parts of the solution for achieving long term sustainable water quality for Lake Rotorua have been developed with the community.
- 140 tonnes of nitrogen reductions will be achieved through regulatory rules (Lake Rotorua Nutrient Management – Proposed Plan Change 10).
- 100 tonnes of nitrogen reductions will be achieved through voluntary land use change (Lake Rotorua Incentives Programme).
- 30 tonnes of nitrogen reductions will be achieved through voluntary gorse conversion (Gorse Conversion Programme).
- 50 tonnes of nitrogen reductions will be achieved through engineering initiatives.
In total, $47.5 million of joint funding from MfE and Regional Council is available to achieve the reductions and support affected landowners.
- $2.2 million - Land Use Advice and Support service to assist landowners with reaching their requirements under the regulatory rules.
- $3.3 million – Low Nitrogen Land Use Fund to provide solutions for landowners who need to make significant reductions under the regulatory rules.
- $40 million – Lake Rotorua Incentives Programme to compensate for nitrogen reductions made by landowners below what they are required to do under the regulatory rules.
- $2 million – Gorse Conversion Programme to remove gorse and convert it into low nitrogen land use.