20 August 2019

Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Environmental Enhancement Fund (EEF) has opened for applications. The fund is open to almost any group that wants some help getting started on a community-based environmental project in the region.

Margaret Kempton, Community Engagement EEF Coordinator, said that groups should get in fast, as the fund is allocated on a first-in-first-served basis and is always fully allocated.

The EEF has a simple requirement that projects must be on public land or land with public access and need to contribute towards environmental enhancement, developing community awareness and encouraging community participation.

“We’re always keen to hear from community projects that enable more sustainable use of water, energy and other natural resources,” Ms Kempton said.

Information about eligibility criteria and an application pack is available at www.boprc.govt.nz/eef or by calling the Regional Council on 0800 884 880. Applications for up to $25,000 will be considered all year round until the fund is fully allocated. A total of $300,000 is available in the 2019 funding round.

“EEF is a great opportunity for people who want to make a difference for the environment to access valuable advice and the financial support they need to get set up. The fund assists around 20 projects throughout the Bay of Plenty each year and they are achieving awesome results,” Ms Kempton said.

One of the projects that benefited from funding last year was Predator Free Bay of Plenty. Coordinator Emma Woods said the Environment Enhancement Fund helped with setting up a backyard trapping programme and made it possible for people in Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty to get access to a free rat trap.

“The EEF funding, coupled with the dedication of the backyard trappers supporting the programme have really helped towards the goal of removing rats and mice from the Bay of Plenty. Since March 2018 we’ve had over 1800 people join the backyard trapping programme and collectively nearly 3000 pests have been removed. As a result we have seen a noticeable increase in birdlife in some areas. One example is the reappearance of quail in the Whakamarama area where they haven’t been seen for many years in such abundance,” Ms Woods said.

Ms Kempton said that special funding is also available to assist Kura Kaupapa Māori, Kohanga Reo and bilingual schools with their environmental projects through the He Matapuna Akoranga a Hawea Vercoe (Hawea Vercoe Memorial Fund).

“The special fund was established in 2011 in honour of the late Bay of Plenty Regional Councillor and former Principal at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rotoiti, Hawea Vercoe. Hawea was passionate about Māori education and the environment,” she said.

Schools can apply for up to $25,000 for one project from the Hawea Vercoe Memorial Fund through the EEF application process. Information is available at www.boprc.govt.nz/eef, emailing eef@boprc.govt.nz or by calling the Regional Council on 0800 884 880.