The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will provide $100,000 for cultural, land use and economic impact assessments to be done of the Whakaki catchment area in the Hawke's Bay.
"The assessment will look at the best ways to improve the productivity and environmental sustainability of the land while protecting historically significant sites," said Luke Southorn, Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI's) director of regional economic development.
"The Whakaki catchment, east of Wairoa, has severe erosion and water quality issues that are impacting on the long-term social, environmental, and economic sustainability of the area.
"MPI has been working with the local community, in conjunction with the Wairoa District Council and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, to help them think about a transition for their land to more productive and sustainable methods of use. The community told us they want to further pinpoint where their resources and effort should be focused to deliver the greatest impact.
"The land use and economic assessment will inform local landowners of high-risk land that needs to be treated, which land has the potential for improved productivity, and options for best sustainable land use.
"The cultural impact assessment will identify cultural and historically important sites around the Whakaki catchment that need to be considered prior to making significant changes and improvements.
"If we get this right we could stabilise erosion-prone farmland to minimise soil loss into waterways, improve water quality, trial viable alternative land use options, and enhance the overall living standard of the local community by generating job and income opportunities," Mr Southorn said.
The assessments will contribute to other cross-agency initiatives underway in the Whakaki catchment which include an ongoing Hill Country Erosion (HCE) project and a Freshwater Improvement Fund (FIF) proposal to restore the lake and wetland. The Provincial Growth Fund also recently provided a further $100,000 funding to help establish mānuka trees on land adjacent to the lake to support a reticulating wetland as part of the FIF work.
Through the PGF, the Government has committed to invest $1 billion a year, over 3 years, in economic development in the regions.