The Million Metres Streams project – a new funding partner

A million metres waiting to be planted

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Trees for Survival has formed a partnership with the soon-to-be-launched Million Metres Streams Project, a crowd-funding website designed to scale up and speed up the restoration of New Zealand’s waterways. As we all know riparian planting is a simple and effective way to improve water quality, reduce erosion and create habitat for aquatic plants and animals.

Partnering with the Million Metres Streams Project (MMS) will help pay for the plants we get in the ground, enabling us to increase our stream restoration effort. Better still, the MMS project encourages all New Zealanders to participate in the restoration of the lifeblood of our waterways.

The Million Metres Streams Project, managed by the Sustainable Business Network and created in conjunction with Enspiral, is a sorely needed funding source in an economic climate where contestable restoration funds cannot possibly meet the burgeoning demand from community groups.

For TfS, this new partnership with MMS represents a co-operative approach where funding and planting resources are efficiently integrated. While New Zealanders provide the funds for restoration, TfS, and other Field Partners such as Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, Sustainable Coastlines and Te Whangai Trust, deliver the actual projects and help landowners get the trees in the ground. It is hoped the number of Field Partners will grow to include councils, industry groups and government agencies, thus truly scaling up stream restorations to a national level.

Just one among the many required

As the name suggests, the Million Metres Streams Project aims to facilitate the planting of one million metres of stream banks. Website donors fund stream restoration by the metre or by the stream (stream projects are listed on the website). Then when projects achieve required funding levels for the restoration, the money is directed to Field Partners like TfS to set the planting in motion. In fact the stream projects themselves must be approved by Field Partners before being listed on the website.

With a funding project like this, water quality outcomes are all important. Website donors will receive health reports about their stream, providing evidence that their money has been well spent. Therefore the onus will be on Field Partners and landowners to document the stream restoration progress with photographs and details of water quality improvements. This information displayed on the website will become proof of the positive outcomes achievable, thus encouraging new donors to get on board and repeat donations from existing donors.

While the primary goal of the Million Metres Streams Project is to increase funding and the speed of riparian planting, its impact is potentially much broader. As well as increasing awareness of the plight of our waterways, it is anticipated MMS will eventually also provide opportunities for

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individuals, communities and organisations to get actively involved and take ownership of waterway health via tree planting, land preparation, weeding, cultivation, waterway adoption and education programmes.

The Million Metres Streams Project website will be launching later this August to members of the Sustainable Business Network, affiliated groups and Field Partners. Check it out then at millionmetres.org.nz .

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