Sky Davies, manager of Tasman Environmental Trust, and project manager Julie Newell welcome the government’s funding boost for the Waimea Inlet. Photo: Matt McCrorie.

Financial boost to restore Waimea Inlet

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The internationally-significant Waimea Inlet has received a welcome funding boost from the government.

Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced last week a package of 23 projects across the country that will clean up the nation’s waterways and create over 2000 jobs.

$1.6 million has been allocated across two environmental projects based in the Waimea Inlet.

Tasman mayor Tim King has welcomed the funding boost from the government to an area that has seen a lot of work in recent years.

“This funding recognises what’s been achieved so far and gives us the chance to carry that on and do even more in future.”

The Waimea Inlet is the largest semi-enclosed estuary in the South Island.

The Waimea Inlet Enhancement project has been given $500,000 to fund actions in an existing plan that weren’t budgeted for, which will include improving water quality of tributaries feeding into the inlet, increasing saltmarsh habitat, creating a habitat restoration strategy for the inlet, and ongoing weed control of inlet margins.

The second project is The Waimea Inlet Billion Trees project, which has received funding of $1.1 million for another 70,000 trees to be planted and maintained, which will cover around 60-70 hectares of the Waimea Inlet margins.

This funding continues planting work that was funded in 2019.

Sky Davies, manager of Tasman Environmental Trust, says that the boost is “really exciting”.

She says that Tasman Environmental Trust has a collaborative goal with the Tasman District Council and the Department of Conservation to improve the health of the inlet.

“This funding will allow for a lot more planting, and it will create more jobs in restoration work,” Sky says.

The $1.1 million announced for estuary habitat work will build on the planting programme that was funded by the government’s one billion trees scheme.

This will bring the number of shrubs and trees planted in the inlet to over 170,000 in the next few years.

“This is a phenomenal funding boost towards the work that we’ve been doing,” says Sky.

She says that the funding boost has highlighted the importance of the Waimea Inlet.

“This funding is building on a huge amount of enthusiasm for the inlet and it’s great to have central government recognise that.”

Up to 14 new environmental jobs could be created as a result of the funding boost.