Three major projects have been awarded funding from the Noosa Biosphere Reserve big ideas grants scheme.
Koala habitat conservation, an anti-erosion river protection plan and a rural enterprise initiative have all been marked as key initiatives to return long-term sustainability to the Noosa region.
Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation grant committee chair Clare Cartwright, said projects were assessed on their capacity to deliver environmental and socio-economic outcomes.
“We are proud to be supporting major projects for our region that offer long-term benefits for both the environment and the community,” Ms Cartwright said.
Noosa and District Landcare was awarded $123,700 to continue their erosion repair program to support water quality in the Noosa river system.
The project will prioritise and implement works to protect and repair erosion prone areas identified by satellite analysis that have lost 2.5 million cubic tonnes of soil into the Noosa River in recent years and trial a new water quality event monitoring system.
“The work Landcare is doing in the Kin Kin catchment has a direct impact downstream to Noosa in keeping our land and waterways productive and healthy,” Ms Cartwright said.
University of the Sunshine Coast will enter the next stage of their koala habitat research with the Koala Forever Noosa program.
Funding of $40,000 will go towards securing the future of wild koalas and wild koala eco-tourism in the Noosa Shire through habitat protection, conservation and connectivity.
“Koalas are an important and loved icon to Noosa and the Foundation wants to ensure the protection of koalas for generations to come.”
Country Noosa was the third project to receive funding to develop an environmentally and economically sustainable plan for the Noosa Hinterland.
The project will receive $65,000 to help better inform hinterland property owners on land use, sustainable farming practices and taking their produce to local and regional markets.
“The Country Noosa project will identify strategic opportunities for existing and potential landowners with a range of farm-based opportunities including primary production, carbon credits, and food tourism.
Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation says each of the projects will attract additional co-investment from other funding sources and services to the value of $342,330.
“We asked that project proponents gain significant co-investment for their projects.
“These multiple partner collaborations bring more investment to Noosa and deliver strong conservation and sustainable development outcomes for our region,” says Ms Cartwright.
The Noosa Biosphere Reserve grants scheme is largely funded by the Noosa Council Environment Levy and is the Shire’s only dedicated environmental grants program.
“Successful projects must adhere to one of four priority areas identified for the Noosa Biosphere Reserve.
“For this round we were able to utilise a one-off additional $80,000 economic grant from Council to support projects with both socio-economic and environmental outcomes.”
“This allowed us to commit our biggest ever grants round of $330,000 directly back into community-driven projects,” explains Ms Cartwright.
Projects were assessed against a set of criteria by a sub-committee of the Foundation’s board.
“We are committed to delivering a highly valuable environmental grants program for the region.
“We are a small community with a predominantly local board of directors passionate about our environment and with a specific set of expertise.
“This committee is still in place and managing the ongoing grants program.
“We are excited to be project partners with these community organisations and very much looking forward to progressing their outcomes,” said Ms Cartwright.