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.

What is a “community” project?

Community projects are those that involve three or more landowners and/or involve public land. You should obtain landowner permission (including Council) from all land owners involved in your application before you apply and we may ask for evidence of this. However, we will consider applications from projects where there are at least three landowners engaged in the project and you are requesting support from our grant to extend the project further in your community (e.g. a neighbourhood backyard trapping project).

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 a restoration project (i.e. weeding and planting) on our private property?

Maybe. Applications will be considered for weeding and planting projects from individual private properties if they are larger than 1 ha and there is significant investment of time/resources from the landowners.

Establishing plants and keeping on top of weed control in areas where there is a high weed burden is an ongoing commitment that involves years of follow up in order maintain. Before completing an application, please consider your ability to commit your own time and funding towards achieving the long-term outcomes of your project. Projects where applicants can demonstrate high levels of co-funding (either through committing their own time, or monetary contribution to the project) will be prioritised.

Can we apply for funding for multiple years?

No. Funding must be used in the year it is applied for i.e. 2022-23 financial year grant must be used by 30 June 2023.

When can we apply?

There will be one funding round over the 2022-2023 financial year, in September 2022.

How much support is available?

Grants of up to $20,000 are available per applicant in each year. However, applicants should note that there are 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 or 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 and you will not be able to request specific species. 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. When calculating the cost of the plant guards and stakes as part of your application, allow $1.50 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?

1 September 2022  Applications open 
30 September 2022  Applications close 
October 2022  Site visits, grant assessments 
November 2022 Grant agreements signed 
December 2022 Funding made available 
30 June 2023 Grant term ends 
31 July 2023  Accountability reports due 

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 October 2022.

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 with 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.