A new 5-year (2018–2023) MBIE funded programme ‘Smarter Targeting of Erosion Control’ (STEC) is now well underway, exploring cost-effective ways of targeting land-based erosion control in the hope of slowing the damage and improving water quality. The programme is led by Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research in collaboration with NIWA, Massey University, Waikato University, international researchers, programme partners Whanganui iwi (Tamaūpoko Community group) and Rangitāne o Manawatū, as well as several regional councils.
Our research will improve understanding of where erosion occurs, how much and what type of sediment is produced and by which processes, and how erosion and sediment transport can be targeted and mitigated cost-effectively to reduce storm damage and improve water quality. We will measure and predict sediment quality (particle size and composition), which controls impacts on water quality and develop modelling frameworks for use by regional councils, land managers, and iwi to help the implementation of government and regional policy to maintain land productivity and reduce sediment and other contaminant loads (e.g. phosphorus) in rivers.
Research is focusing on four catchments across New Zealand: the Manawatu – for new and continuing data collection; the Whanganui – to investigate impacts from the 2018 storm and legacy sediments; and the Oreti in Southland and Wairoa near Auckland – to research storm event sediment loads and sediment source fingerprinting methods in collaboration with NIWA’s Managing Mud programme.