The Minister explained that the funding, which groups such as RSPB, WWF and wildlife trusts would be able to bid for, would support projects that deliver better outcomes for habitats and species as well as projects aimed at tackling invasive, non native species, such as Japanese Knotweed.
The Minister said:
“Wales’ changing climate is putting growing pressure on our environment and is resulting in both increased flood risk and a reduced water supply. Pressure from our modern use of the land is also resulting in poor water and soil quality and is in turn putting more pressure on species and habitats.
“To tackle this we need to make sure we are managing our natural resources as a whole and are consistently seeking to understand how we can get the services we need whilst sustaining a resilient and healthy environment.
“Maintaining healthy ecosystems is actually less expensive than treating problems later on. For example good land management in river catchments can keep water clean and reduce flooding, and well functioning eco systems are much more resilient to climate change and extreme weather events."
The new money builds on the success of last year’s Ecosystem Resilience, Diversity and Compliance Fund. It focuses funding on improving the health of species and habitats and is in line with the ecosystem approach set out in the ‘Sustaining a Living Wales’ green paper which the Minister launched for consultation in January this year.
Projects funded in 2011 included over £250,000 for the Countryside Council for Wales to safeguard aquaculture and tourism at Holyhead marina by removing invasive sea squirts from underwater structures and in excess of £190,000 for the restoration of degraded blanket bog habitat in the Berwyn Migneint Special Area of Conservation.
The Ecosystem Resilience, Diversity and Compliance Fund funding will be delivered through the Countryside Council for Wales, and the Wales Biodiversity Partnership.
The application window for projects opens on Tuesday 8th May and will run until Friday 1st June. Full details of eligibility, and how to apply, are available on the CCW website.