Why is Immediate Steps needed?
Freshwater ecosystems provide an important habitat for many freshwater fish, insects, plants and birds. They act as corridors and ‘stepping stones’ that connect different habitats and ecosystems.
Native biodiversity has declined over many years as a result of human activity as more intensive land use has meant vegetation clearance along rivers and streams, increased water or gravel abstraction and more pollutants reaching waterways.
Extensive consultation during the development of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy highlighted the declining health of the region’s freshwater ecosystems and the loss of native biodiversity as a key community concern.
Who can apply for Immediate Steps funding?
Any individual, landowner, community, conservation or recreational group that seeks to protect or restore indigenous plants or animals and their habitat, waterways, wetlands and dunes can apply for the Immediate Steps fund.
What is the assessment criteria?
Projects will need to reflect and contribute to the goals and guiding principle of the Canterbury Biodiversity Strategy.
The guiding principle is to focus first on protecting and maintaining what remains, and then restore what has been lost.
Projects will be assessed against the six goals set out in the Canterbury Biodiversity Strategy:
- Protect and maintain the health of all significant habitats and ecosystems.
- Restore the natural character of degraded indigenous habitats and ecosystems.
- Increase the integration and sustainable use of indigenous species in modified environments (e.g. farm, urban, lifestyle blocks).
- Enhance public awareness, understanding and support of biodiversity.
- Encourage, celebrate and support action by landowners and communities to protect, maintain and restore biodiversity.
- Improve the range and quality of knowledge and information about Canterbury’s biodiversity for its sustainable management.
Projects are also assessed against the following criteria to consider the ecological value of the project.
- Ecological context:
- Projects must provide a benefit to indigenous biodiversity and play an important role in the long-term health of the wider ecosystem.
- The extent to which an area represents a habitat type or ecosystem that is typical of the area concerned.
- Diversity and pattern:
- Ecosystems including vegetation communities, habitats for native animals, and wetlands that contain a high degree of natural diversity (e.g. a range of plant types).
- Native vegetation or habitat of indigenous fauna is in a natural state or healthy condition, or is in an original condition.
- Rarity or distinctiveness:
- Plants or habitats (including wetlands) that are rare or threatened or support rare or threatened species; plants or habitats that are distinctive (e.g. a plant species at the limits of its natural range or that is uniquely adapted due to special areas such as caves); species at the limits of their natural range.
- Project leadership:
- Proposed projects that will be undertaken by groups need identified leadership.
- Geographic spread:
- Where possible a fair distribution of funding will be allocated across the region
- Community education:
- The extent to which the project will provide environmental benefits to the wider community, for example, enhancing the community's understanding of indigenous biodiversity.
Do I have to get a covenant to protect my project?
Legal protection is not always required, but priority will be given to projects where protection exists or where it is being implemented. A covenant or long-term protection may be required for applications seeking Environment Canterbury funding over $10,000.
What do I need to include in my application?
A management plan for the project must be included with the application form and approved by Environment Canterbury prior to funding being allocated.
Do I have to contribute anything?
A third party/landowner contribution is usually required and can be as an in-kind contribution such as labour. For Immediate Steps projects, a maximum of two-thirds of the project costs can be funded.
Do I have to undertake a project on my own land?
Proposed projects should generally be on private, customary or coastal land. The project will be, where practical, on private land or land which is defined under the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 as customary land. Projects on public land may be considered on a case-by-case basis. The landowner must support the application.
Can I undertake a project in conjunction with another organisation or individual?
Projects which involve partnerships with other organisations and individuals are preferred.
What kind of projects will not be funded?
We are unable to fund:
- projects that generate personal or commercial profits or compensate individuals;
- research projects;
- beautification projects;
- projects that are a government, local authority or other public body (such as producer boards) responsibility or requirement (including works that are required as part of a resource consent); or
- projects that are required under council rules.
What is an example of a project that is likely to get funding?
Projects that focus on protecting significant existing habitats and ecosystems and that maintain linkages between indigenous habitats.
Projects that restore the natural character of degraded indigenous habitats and ecosystems. For example riparian fencing and planting; weed management fencing of native bush; fencing and planting of a wetland.
How do I apply?
Complete the funding enquiry form,
and then your local biodiversity officer will provide you with guidance and assistance to complete your application.