Tom Flynn-Plummer pictured with a freshly caught stoat.
Four Northland biodiversity groups have been awarded more than $350,000 to look after the region’s threatened species and ecosystems.
The money is part of the Department of Conservation’s annual community fund which helps environmental groups and private landowners work on their conservation projects.
The local taiao group Bream Head Conservation Trust received $118,500 for their project “Ecological Restoration of Bream Head Scenic Reserve – Next Level”.
Trust head ranger Tom Flynn-Plummer said the fund would be evenly spent over the next three years to help restore the natural ecology in Bream Head.
“The bulk of our funding, about $90,000, will be focused on our weed control initiatives while the rest will be used for our predator control activities.
“Our primary focus is on getting rid of invasive weeds such as moth plants. It’s one of our worst weed species, which essentially are plant vines which grow quickly, covers the native canopy and then kills it,” Flynn-Plummer said.
The ranger said the trust also plans to implement predator control measures for stoats detected at the ocean beach reserve.
“I think the goal for all of us is to have a well-connected pest control community group to significantly reduce their numbers. We especially must be extra cautious since we are quite close to the scenic reserve Hen and Chicks Islands which is a pest-free island,” he said.
The trust was first established in 2002 and is now working with the broader community and iwi group Aki Tai Here to restore the whenua.
The most funding went to Weed Action Native Habitat Restoration Trust. They received $138,280 for their project “Maunga Manaia – Waka Hourua Matauranga Māori”.
The trust, whose key aim is stop the spread of invasive weeds, intends to use its fund to implement habitat restoration measures to protect and preserve nationally critical plant species such as Northland horopito and ramarama on Manaia Scenic Reserve.
The Pukenui Western Hills Forest Charitable Trust and Te Roroa Iwi – Te Toa Whenua were the other two groups that received $107,673 and $30,000 for their predator control plans respectively.
More than 290 applications for funding were received by DoC this year and the Northland groups were the chosen few from a total of 32 organisations that received their grants from a pool of $7.2 million.