Waikato Regional Council has been supporting the work of people to make a better environment right across our region through three funds which have been in place for between five and 22 years – the Natural Heritage Fund, Environmental Initiatives Fund (including the Enviroschools Fund) and Small Scale Community Initiatives Fund.
The number of groups, level of participation, and size and complexity of the projects has changed over this time, with a number of them calling on us to change the way we support and fund them.
Through the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan, Waikato Regional Council agreed to rebrand the funds into a single programme - the Natural Heritage Partnership Programme - and to widen the criteria to include multi-year funding and assistance with ongoing project coordination costs.
A funding policy including refreshed criteria and application guidelines is attached below. Applicants are encouraged to discuss their project proposals with council staff before applying to any of the funds.
Waikato Regional Council’s Natural Heritage Fund was established in 2005 to protect and manage, in perpetuity, special places of ecological significance. Key priorities include the preservation of access to waterways and the coast, as well as protection of biodiversity, heritage sites and landscapes of significance to the community. Natural heritage projects have very long term, inter-generational benefits.
To date, the Natural Heritage Fund has been used for a wide range of projects including Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, Waipa peat lakes reserves and the purchase of the Ed Hillary Hope Reserve.
In keeping with the significance and size of these projects, we’ve recognised that the level of accountability, monitoring and reporting will increase with the size of the grants.
Waikato Regional Council welcomes the opportunity to discuss potential Natural Heritage Fund proposals with community groups. Please contact Alan Saunders on 07 8592776 for further information.
Waikato Regional Council and Trust Waikato have collaborated on research to inform the discussion around the challenges and opportunities facing the community-based environmental sector in the Waikato. The report of this research is attached below. It covers: