Beyond Regulation Matāura Catchment Project

Objective

The development of a high-resolution landscape knowledge platform to guide catchment and land user investment in mitigation pathways for soil GHG and water quality emissions that are spatially targeted, efficient and cost-effective, in a format that can be easily utilised by land users.

Project Description

The Matāura project will develop and trial a new model that provides scientific landscape data aimed to inform carbon and water quality solutions that meet government sanctioned environmental targets. It involves farmers working directly with scientists to deliver a valuable tool that will benefit rural communities across New Zealand.

The project has just won the AGMARDT Aotearoa New Zealand Food & Fibres Challenge for breaking new ground in the drive towards a zero-carbon economy. The award of $498,000 will fund this joint initiative between the rural community, Thriving Southland and local environmental consultancy Land and Water Science, with the additional support of local regional authorities, industry bodies and rural professionals.

As discussed at a recent Catchment Group Forum, this collaborative project will use satellite and airborne data to develop a model of landscape properties that highlight variations in greenhouse gas emissions and water quality at catchment, farm and paddock scales. Findings will inform the creation of an online portal for users to access this data, as well as a training course for rural professionals and a support network for land users.

Providing access to this type of information in a relatable manner for rural professionals and land managers is critical for the environmental, social, cultural and economic wellbeing of Southland and ultimately all rural communities.

Next Steps

Three pilot studies will be conducted across sub-catchments of the Matāura to examine the application of this novel approach and the feasibility of the work being extended regionally and nationally. Farmers are part of the project advisory group to ensure information is practically aligned in an easy-to-use format. The rural community should start to see relevant findings from July 2022.

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