From the Momentum Waikato Annual Report 2023 - see full report in PDF.

The Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust, or ‘WCEET’, is a collaboration between Mercury Power and the conservation groups that were involved in the re-consenting process for the company’s Waikato River dams. Together they manage an enhancement fund that supports efforts to environmentally compensate for the dams’ impact.

Its decision-making board therefore includes trustees from Mercury, Fish and Game NZ, the Department of Conservation, Forest and Bird, and the Advisory Committee on the Regional Environment - ACRE, plus an observer from the Waikato Regional Council.

WCEET’s financial support has had a hugely positive impact on the Waikato and Lake Taupo catchments since it was established two decades ago – its funding of 300+ conservation projects has collectively enhanced 2600+ hectares of wetland and 2600+ hectares of riparian habitat, with 2.43 million natives planted and predator control applied to 7200+ hectares. 

“We’ve supported some truly inspirational volunteer groups, landowners and businesses dedicated to protecting and enhancing the environment,” said Trust Chair Gwyn Verkerk.

“Without any promotion, our funding rounds are always over-subscribed. So we’ve set up the WCEET Fund with Momentum Waikato, as both a new investment income stream in its own right, and to provide an easy way for the public to donate towards the expansion and long-term sustainability of this crucial local conservation funding.”

The Trust’s goals are to protect and enhance wetlands, indigenous biodiversity, and the sports fishery and gamebird habitat. So its grants are primarily for plants and pest control kit, but the financial support is just one element of its support to local groups.

“Networking is a big element of the funding process - with more partners, synergies and mentoring, the quality of the field work is constantly improving,” said Gwyn.

“What we’re seeing is a huge opportunity to accelerate the delivery and extent of ecological work across the Waikato.”

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