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Frequently asked questions for Environmental Grant Applicants

 Where does the Environmental Grants funding come from?

Funding is available from the following non-regulatory Nelson City Council programmes:

  • Nelson Nature works across public and private land to protect, restore and enhance Nelson/Whakatū’s natural environment from the mountains to the sea. Funding is available for projects that aim to protect or enhance native biodiversity.
  • Healthy Streams works to improve freshwater outcomes across the region, in both urban and rural streams and rivers. Funding is available for projects that aim to improve the health of waterways for either human or ecosystem health, for example, habitat restoration, small wetland projects, or mitigation of nutrients.
  • Sustainable Land Management supports landowners to manage their land to improve soils, enhance biodiversity and help improve waterways by preventing sediment and pollution from land-use activities. The programme is partially funded through the Ministry for Primary Industries. Funding is available for projects that mitigate erosion through tree planting, stock exclusion fencing, or establishment of small wetlands to filter nitrates and pollutants from productive land.

 Can we apply for work on private land?

Yes. You must be the property owner or have written permission from the property owner.   

Can we apply for work on marine or intertidal-zone projects?

No. Funding is not currently available for marine or intertidal-zone projects. 

Can we apply for a project on public land (e.g. DOC Reserve, Council Park)?

Yes, you can apply for a project on public land. You must gain permission from the property owner. Council’s Adopt a Spot programme works with groups and individuals taking care of sites on Council land. If your project involves work on a Nelson City Council Park or Reserve, please contact us at or 03 546 0200 before completing the application form.

Can we apply for a project outside of the Nelson region (e.g. Richmond)?

No. Funding is only available for projects within the Nelson City Council boundaries. 

Can we apply for funding for multiple years?

No. Funding must be used in the 2020-21 financial year.

 Can we apply for funding more than once each year?

Only one grant will be provided for each project in each financial year. You can’t receive multiple grants for the same project, or closely related project, in the same financial year. For example, you can’t receive a grant in August to help with weed control and also apply for a grant in February for native plants. Instead, you should apply for a grant in August for help with both weed control and planting. However, if you are unsuccessful in the August grant round you can apply for a grant for the same project in February. 

When can we apply?

There will be two funding rounds over the 2020-2021 financial year, in August and February. 

How much support is available?

Grants of up to $20,000 are available per applicant in each year. However, applicants should note that there is limited funds available and aside from projects mitigating erosion, applications up to $5,000 are more likely to be successful.

What applications are more likely to be funded?

If your project has positive environmental outcomes and is a viable project, is well aligned with the annual funding priorities, and includes an in-kind contribution, it will score more highly.  However, lower scoring projects may also be funded, depending on how many applications are received.

How are applications assessed?

Your application will be assessed in terms of:

  • the environmental outcomes to be achieved
  • the viability of the project (whether the proposed approach is likely to achieve the outcomes outlined in the application)
  • how well the project plan aligns with this year’s funding priorities
  • in-kind contributions.

What type of support is available, and how will it be provided?

‘Funding’ includes money, professional ecological advice, and/or native plants, as specified in individual funding agreements.

Up to $5000 will be paid upfront, with any remaining funding conditional on completion of a satisfactory accountability report.

When applying for fencing as part of a grant, there will be a standard subsidy per metre of fencing of $12.

What types of plants are available and how will they be provided?

Council will provide native plants directly (rather than money to buy plants) to ensure the use of eco-sourced plants. Native plants provided are for establishing or extending native planting areas only. Appropriate native species will be selected for your site according to site suitability. No enhancement or climax species are available. Plants will be available for collection in May to June for planting over winter. When calculating the cost of the plants as part of your application, allow $3 per plant.  

Do we need to apply for plant guards?

Yes, please indicate if you would like biodegradable plant guards and stakes with your plants as these will be supplied directly. When calculating the cost of plants including guards as part of your application, allow $4.50 per plant.

What can we not apply for?

Grants will not be provided for:

  • works required by a law, a plan rule, or a consent condition
  • large scale forestry (over 10ha in area)
  • intensive predator control at sites which do not contain threatened or at-risk species or which do not have a community group
  • retrospective costs (i.e. costs incurred prior to a funding agreement being signed)
  • reimbursement of landowner time or voluntary labour
  • proposals that are designed to generate personal or commercial profit
  • debt repayment or the refinancing of loans
  • purchase of tools and machinery for private landowners (e.g. chainsaws, mulchers). You can apply to hire tools and machinery.


What is the process?


How and when will we know the result of our application?

All applicants will receive a letter advising whether funding has been approved for their project in early April

 What will be in the funding agreement?

The funding agreement will outline:

  • what the Council will provide to support your project (money, native plants and/or other materials)
  • how and when the grant will be provided
  • any specific conditions associated with the grant
  • general conditions associated with all grants.

Recipients of grants of a value less than $500 will receive an email, rather than an agreement, detailing what the Council will provide to support your project (money, native plants and/or other materials) and how and when the grant will be provided.


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