Nelson environment gets $6M boost

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A $6 million 10-year project dedicated to protecting and restoring Nelson’s environment was officially launched at the Suter Gallery today.

Nelson City Council’s Nelson Nature programme of work invests $500,000 a year, increasing to $650,000 by year five plus inflation, in the region’s biodiversity.

Nelson mayor Rachel Reese told guests including members of the Nelson Biodiversity Forum that Nelson Nature would be one of the most holistic, all encompassing biodiversity projects carried out in New Zealand.

“Thanks to our compact size geographically, we have an opportunity here to make a significant difference to Nelson’s biodiversity.

“Through Nelson Nature, we want our city to become a national leader in environmental restoration, renowned for its native flora and fauna – with obvious economic spin offs for tourism,” she said.

“This is about embracing our responsibilities as a Unitary Authority by introducing a much more extensive and targeted approach to care for the region’s natural resources.”

Biodiversity Forum chair councillor Brian McGurk says Nelson Nature aligned closely with the forum’s goal to create an “ecologically rich and sustainable future for the region”.

“We are hugely grateful for the forum’s input into devising the 11 key projects that make up the Nelson Nature programme. From protecting the rare native species on the Dun Mountain Mineral Belt to restoring our precious coastlines and estuaries, the work is region-wide.

“It is an ambitious programme that we will work closely with organisations, landowners and community groups to deliver,” he says.

“In time, we hope people will be able to notice a tangible difference to their local environment.  There will be more native fish in rivers and streams, healthier native bush, fewer pest plants and animals, and native birds singing in our back yards.”

Activities include increased pest animal and weed control, more riverside fencing and planting, encouraging landowners to retire and re-vegetate unproductive land and planting native species to provide natural habitat for wildlife.