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Local MP Anne Tolley says new grants totalling over $8.2m for freshwater improvement projects in the Bay of Plenty is great news for the people of East Coast.

The Government today announced grants of $44 million for 33 projects, which with Council and other contributions, will see $142 million invested in over 100 lakes and rivers across New Zealand.

“We’re committed to improving freshwater quality so Kiwis can enjoy our great outdoors,” says Mrs Tolley.

“The Government’s plan to improve water quality of our rivers and lakes involves stronger direction to councils, tighter regulation, as well as funding to support projects.

“I’m delighted that the Bay of Plenty will benefit from an injection of over $8.2m in funding for freshwater improvement projects, including restoring 206ha of wetlands across six high value ecological sites along the Rangitaiki River.”

These projects will contribute towards the Government’s goals of improving the swimmability and ecological health of waterways.

Funding will go towards fencing of waterways from farm animals, planting along streams, development of wetlands, sewage reticulation and water storage to increase minimum flows, eradication of water weeds, removal of pest fish, and retirement of marginal land next to waterways.

These grants are the first tranche of funding from the $100 million Freshwater Improvement Fund announced last year.

The Government has been improving the management of freshwater with the water metering regulations in 2009, the National Policy Statement in 2011, the Freshwater National Objective Framework in 2014, and the 90 per cent of lakes and rivers swimmable by 2040 target announced earlier this year.

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