Media release

Council approves ECO Fund recipients for October round

Wednesday 11 December 2019

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) approved the recommendations of the ECO Fund decision panel today.

Eleven groups received funding totalling $117,425.68. Four were in the under $5,000 category, out of ten applications, and seven in the over $5,000 category that received 14 applications. Over $380,000 worth of funding was requested by 24 total applicants.

The ECO Fund provides $250,000 a year, across two rounds of funding, to support community-driven environmental projects. Its vision is to support work that protects, enhances and promotes Otago’s environment.

Cr Michael Deaker, Chair of the ECO Fund decision panel, said he was encouraged by the continued popularity of the fund.

“It’s wonderful to see the number of different groups all throughout the region who have applied to this fund, which demonstrates an enthusiasm in the Otago community to muck in and take ownership of the environment around them.

“We were able to provide funding to 14 great projects in this round, and there are plenty more around the region.”

The next round of funding opens on 1 March, and anyone considering applying is encouraged to contact if they have questions or are seeking advice on their application.

For more information on the ECO Fund, visit


Successful applications under $5,000

ALREC Bioblitz Phase 1 and Phase 2 – $4,750.00

This project involves holding a trial Bioblitz at Makarora with a small group of children from Makarora School. Following this trial, a Wanaka Bioblitz will be scheduled for March/April 2020, co-ordinated with the support of Enviroschools and open to the whole community.


Capturing Aerial Images of Environmental Projects – $3,003.48

Funding to purchase a drone for the purposes of capturing aerial images and videos illustrating environmental projects that are currently being undertaken in Otago. The drone will help illustrate the scope of some of the projects being undertaken in the region, and to inspire others to undertake similar initiatives which will ultimately benefit the environment.


No More Pests in Makarora – $3,730.00

Operation of a satellite-monitored trapping system targeting feral cats and other large predators to protect endangered river birds on Makarora Braided River.


Papatowai Barberry Control – $1,601.50

Funds to supply equipment and herbicide for the Barberry Busters sub-group of the Papatowai and District Community Association. In the short term they will eradicate barberry from the Papatowai township. In the longer term, they will move outwards to control barberry in the surrounding districts.


Successful applications over $5,000

Clutha Water Project – $29,000.00

Throughout this project, farmer leaders and catchment groups will be supported to make changes on-farm in order to improve water quality and associated biodiversity throughout the Clutha District.


Grand and Otago Skink Collaboration Survey – $5,055.40

A survey of Grand and Otago skinks in order to monitor the population and establish a trapping programme to protect these endangered populations.


Jewelled Gecko Breeding and Advocacy Enclosure – $9,884.54

This project is focused on building an advocacy and breeding enclosure for Jewelled Gecko within the predator free environment of Ōrokokonui Ecosanctuary. The enclosure will provide a contained, but largely natural, environment where the general public can observe this rare species, providing an important educational and advocacy opportunity supporting public engagement, which is critical in the long-term conservation of this taonga species.


Open Valley Urban Ecosanctuary (VUE) – $20,000.00

This programme sees one in five households in the Lindsay Creek catchment meeting standards to be designated a ‘backyard ecosanctuary’ – creating a habitat corridor for native species dispersing from Orokonui Ecosanctuary into Dunedin.


Planting Projects for Biodiversity – $7,800.00

Haehaeata Natural Heritage Trust Native Planting projects, using local eco-sourced plants will enhance threatened and vulnerable Dryland Ecosystems and enhance the native biodiversity of the Central Otago area. Funds will be used to pay a project co-ordinator who will engage volunteers, community groups and school groups to be involved in restoration projects.


Project coordinator for the Hereweka Harbour Cone property on Otago Peninsula – $6,000.00

A project coordinator for the Hereweka Harbour Cone property on Otago Peninsula coordinating the various working bees, ordering seedlings and planting materials, organising pest plant contractors and coordinating fundraising initiatives.


Skippers/Londonderry Creek Beech Forest – $26,601.30

Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group Inc will protect the mature native Beech Forest seed source in the Skippers/Londonderry Creek area by hand spraying the carpet of seedling wilding pines under the native Beech Forest canopy so that they are unable to encroach any further into the existing Beech Forest.