Project assessment criteria

Your application will be assessed by a panel using the criteria below.


  • Setting a clear project objective helps track the success of the project. Objectives should be realistic and able to be achieved within the timeframe of the project.

  • The project should outline what actions will be undertaken to achieve the objective. There should be a clear linkage between the action and the intended objective.

  • Consider overall group objectives and assess specific project actions in application in terms of contribution to that overall group objective/vision.

  • Projects that are implementing existing catchment group plans could be considered as higher scoring.



4= Objectives are realistic and highly likely to be achieved within the timeframe. Obvious links between actions and objectives.

3 = Objectives are realistic and likely to be achieved within the timeframe. Some linkage between the actions and objectives.

2 = Objectives could be achievable, but project planning does not clearly demonstrate how proposed actions will lead to objectives.

1 = Objectives are limited, and actions are not linked to the project objectives and unlikely to be achieved within the timeframe

0 = Objectives are unrealistic, irrelevant or unachievable.


  • The likelihood of a successful project is increased when the applicants are well informed or experts in the area.

  • Projects should demonstrate that the planned approach is technically feasible and reflects best management practice.

  • This could be through the expertise of the project applicants or through information they have sought and intend on implementing.


4 = Proponent has sought appropriate advice and/ or have the relevant expertise. Best practice is clearly being proposed.

3 = Proponent has sought some advice and/ or has some relevant experience. Best practice is mostly being proposed.

2 = Proponent has sought some advice and/ or has some relevant experience. Best practice is not being proposed or is not clear.

1 = Proponent has not demonstrated advice was sought or what relevant experience is being utilised. Best practice is not being proposed or is not clear.

0 = Best practice is not being implemented and proposed techniques are questionable.


The impact a project can have can be assessed by:

  • Scale, how effective and far reaching will the project outcomes be. For example, regional benefits, district wide benefits, site or property scale.


4 = Significant environmental benefits at a district or regional scale.

3 = Moderate environmental benefits at multi-site or local scale.

2 = Benefits are site scale.

1 = Benefits are likely but are indirect and/or intangible.

0 = No clear benefits to the environment.


The impact a project can have can be assessed by:

  • Longevity, how enduring will the project outcomes be.
  • How will this be maintained.
  • Intervention level - is the project addressing the cause or symptom of a problem.


4 = Environmental benefits for long-term. (20+ years).

3 = Environmental benefits medium-term (6-20 years).

2 = Environmental benefits short-term (<5 years).

1 = Benefits are likely but are indirect and/or intangible and timeframes are difficult to assess.

0 = No clear benefits to the environment over any timeframe.


Projects that protect or enhance sites with special environmental values add value to the outcomes ECO Fund is seeking. Special site values could include: 

  • At-risk or threatened species,  
  • Rare or much reduced-ecosystem types. 
  • Important or distinctive habitat types.


4 = Project addresses a first-tier biodiversity priority: 

  • threatened naturally uncommon system,  
  • habitats of threatened taxa endemic to Otago, and  
  • habitats of Nationally Critic species. 

3 = Project addresses a second-tier biodiversity priority: 

  • all other naturally uncommon ecosystems, and 
  • ‘unnaturally rare’ ecosystems. 

2 = Project addresses a third-tier biodiversity priority: 

  • all other priority sites (as indicated by the Leathwick work). 

1 = Project does not address a biodiversity priority but has clear biodiversity outcomes.


A key objective for the ECO Fund is community involvement. This criterion assesses how much community involvement is being proposed and how far reaching that involvement may be.


4 = Project is led by a community group and engages with other members of the community.

3 = Project is led and implemented by a community group with some community engagement.

2 = Not led by community but involves community in the implementation.

1 = No community groups involved but outcomes will benefit or be utilised by the community.

0 = No community involvement or benefit.


  • Considering any level of investment contributed by the applicant, that is, their level of investment is a good measure for value for money.

  • See Funding Details section in application.

  • Applicant investment can include in-kind contributions such as labour or volunteer hours, monetary input from the group itself or project partners.

  • However, contributions from other grants are not considered applicant’s investment and should not be used to leverage funding.


4= Project is more than 1:1 cost sharing between fund requested and fund contributed.

3 = Project is 1:1 (or within 5%) cost sharing.

2 = Project is 1:2 applicant vs ECO Fund requested.

1 = Project has some applicant contribution but not clear or costed.

0 = Project relies solely on ECO Fund and/or other grants.


  • ​It is good to encourage new applicants to access funding.

  • However, previous applicants are also typically involved in good works and maintaining momentum can be good.

  • Some previous successful applicants may not have completed all previous commitments, e.g., reporting.​


2 = New applicant or previously unsuccessful applicant to the ECO Fund (with eligible project).

1 = Previous successful applicants with all requirements completed on time.

0 = Previous successful applicant with outstanding reports or other commitments.


  • ECO Fund has many repeat applicants and some with significant other funding to achieve their objectives, enabling them to commit resources to applying for additional funding.

  • Community groups without significant additional funding should receive a boost to their score to encourage new groups, new projects and a diversity and spread of ECO Fund projects.



2 = Community group has no other significant funding sources (total <$100k).

1 = Community group has other significant funding sources (total $100-$500k).

0 = Community group has other significant funding sources (total >$500k).


Further information to read and review before applying: 


Back to top
Online Maps & Data: