Brian Levine

Doctor of Philosophy, (Soil Science)
Study Completed: 2020
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
The Ability of Detainment Bunds to Mitigate the Impact of Pastoral Agriculture on Surface Water Quality in the Lake Rotorua Catchment

Detainment bunds are low, earthen structures being investigated as a potential nutrient mitigation strategy for pastoral agricultural runoff. The bunds are constructed in ephemeral stream flow paths and effectively increase surface runoff residence times by impeding and temporarily ponding stormflows. Previous to Mr. Levine’s thesis, nutrient mitigation performance of detainment bunds had not been quantified. By measuring and analysing surface runoff delivered to and discharged from the bunds, Mr. Levine found that the strategy decreased nutrient losses during every storm event occurring during the 12-month study. He also identified factors affecting the efficacy, and implications for the long-term performance of the strategy. His results provide insight into optimising detainment bund performance and utilising the strategy to reduce the impact of pastoral farming on New Zealand’s freshwater ecosystems.

Associate Professor Lucy Burkitt
Dr Chris Tanner
Professor David Horne
Professor Leo Condron