• Projects must meet the objectives of the ECO Fund and align with at least one ORC strategic priority to be eligible. Note that projects for Incentives Funding – Biodiversity enhancement on protected private land do not need to meet the objective for enabling community driven environmental activities.
  • Except for multi-year projects, projects must be completed within 12 months of receiving funding.
  • All applications for each round are assessed and ranked against the ECO Fund assessment criteria.
  • All funding is GST exclusive. All financial information provided in an application must be exclusive of GST.
  • The ECO fund supports both one-off projects and those running over multiple years for up to 3 years. For multiple year funding, funds will be released annually conditional upon appropriate project reports which demonstrate meaningful progress being submitted.
  • Successful applicants must agree to Otago Regional Council promoting their project.
  • Applicants must have completed accountability (final) reports for any previous ECO Fund grants received to be eligible for funding.
  • If work funded is not completed within the specified time frame or funds are not spent as agreed, Otago Regional Council reserves the right to demand the return of funds.
  • The ECO Fund does not provide funding for:
    • commercial or private gain
    • government organisations
    • projects created to comply with Resource Consent conditions
    • responses to any actual or potential enforcement action (excluding projects under the sustained rabbit control programme)
    • the purpose of seed capital
    • individuals
    • maintenance for existing projects
    • retrospective costs


  • Applicants can only submit one application per funding round.
  • Projects must have a defined start and finish date.
  • Applicants must disclose any other funding they have applied for or received for their project.
  • Funding is capped per project and applicant at $50,000 for ECO Fund and Incentives Funding - Sustained rabbit management; and $15,000 for Incentives Funding - Native planting after plant pest removal, Native planting for water quality, and Biodiversity enhancement of protected private land. Projects between $50,000 and $150,000 are eligible to the Incentives Funding - Large-scale biodiversity outcomes.
  • If funding is requested for salary costs, only 50% will be funded. Applicants need to demonstrate that requested salary funding is not more than 50% of total cost, and detail where the additional funding will come from e.g., applicant 50% contribution to salary could be from other grants, existing group funds, or existing staff capacity or volunteer contributions allocated to the same project position.


  • All applications are assessed and ranked against the ECO Fund assessment criteria.
  • Applicants agree to be available (if requested) for a phone call and/or site visit with ORC staff as part of the assessment process at a day and time suitable to the applicant.
  • If an applicant is unsuccessful in one round of the ECO Fund, they may apply again in a subsequent funding round.
  • Decisions made by Otago Regional Council are final and are made at our sole discretion.
  • Applicants may not speak to their applications at the Council meetings or approach representatives on Council to speak on their behalf.

Decision and Grant

  • Successful applicants must accept the grant by signing an acceptance letter and funding agreement.
  • Recipients must pay all costs associated with the project. ECO Fund grants will be transferred to recipients’ nominated bank accounts.
  • Nominated bank accounts cannot be private accounts; it must be an account in the name of the applicant. Grant funds will not be paid into individuals bank accounts, corporate bank accounts.
  • Successful applicants must agree to report on the project outcomes to ORC within a specified timeframe, and account for how funds were spent. Successful applicants must agree to submit progress reports, where applicable, and a final report on the project outcomes to ORC within a specified timeframe, and account for how funds were spent.
  • Successful applicants agree to report on their project at a council meeting, if requested.
  • Funds granted expire 6 months after Council approval. If the applicant fails to comply with the Otago Regional Council’s terms and conditions within 6 months (unless otherwise agreed), the funding lapses.
  • Grants are approved subject to the Otago Regional Council being satisfied that the information given by recipients is true and correct. Otago Regional Council reserves the right to refuse grant funding, and/or request return of grant funding where it determines that it has been misled, that the applicant or recipient has omitted relevant information, or if the recipient enters into receivership, liquidation or ceases to exist (e.g., removed from register).