MAF approves $3.4 million for new East Coast erosion control

26 November 2009

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has approved in principle 19 new applications, worth over $3.4 million, under the East Coast Forestry Project's (ECFP) 2009 funding round. The projects cover erosion treatments starting in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

This funding will provide for a further 2,147 hectares of new erosion control projects in the Gisborne District.

As at 30 June 2009, sustainable land management has been achieved on 33,745 hectares of the most severely eroding land, with a further 7,880 hectares approved awaiting establishment. In total, 322 ECFP grants have been awarded to landowners in the Gisborne District.

Mr Hambling said this is a great achievement for sustainable land management and erosion control in Gisborne where erosion is a severe problem.

"Together with the Gisborne District Council, we are committed to continue working with landowners through funding and advising on control measures that can effectively manage erosion and other issues that result from it such as sedimentation and an increased risk of flooding."

The total area approved in the 2009 is 91 hectares lower than the 2,238 hectares approved in 2008, says Randolph Hambling, MAF'S Gisborne based Regional Manager for North Island Sustainable Programmes.

A number of landowners are keen to tackle erosion problems themselves, looking to achieve effective tree cover on their severely eroding land, as required by the Gisborne District Council. By doing so they can stop the problem getting larger and at a time that suits them.

"Landowners and investors also appear to be looking for planting opportunities that also allow for participation in carbon farming," said Mr Hambling.

Forestry treatments which include Radiata pine, Douglas fir and Eucalyptus species, account for 69% of the 2,147 hectare area approved. Indigenous reversion treatments account for 11% and poplar and willow pole planting treatments account for 22% of the area approved.

"Maori land, which has around 28% of the district's severe erosion, accounts for 52% of the total area approved," Mr Hambling said.

The Government established the East Coast Forestry Project in 1992 as a response to erosion damage to the district following Cyclone Bola. The scheme provides grants for various soil conservation treatments.

26 percent of Gisborne district's land is susceptible to severe erosion, compared with only 8 percent of all land in New Zealand.

Media contact:

Iain Butler | MAF Communications
Phone: 04 894 0471 | Mobile: 029 894 0471 | Email: iain.butler@maf.govt.nz

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