Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Freshwater Mitigation Programme

Research is at the core of the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) programme. Find out about the Freshwater Mitigation Programme’s aims and the types of research it invests in.

Aims of the Freshwater Mitigation Programme

The SLMACC Freshwater Mitigation Programme supports field trials of existing farm technologies and practices which protect waterways and wetlands by reducing nutrient run-off and leaching. The programme aims to produce scientific data that can be incorporated into decision-support tools such as Overseer. This will help farmers and growers use their land more sustainably, meet environmental targets, and remain prosperous.

The programme has $16 million over 4 years to fund scientific projects.

The application process

The 2020 funding round has closed.

Applications are assessed by a panel made up of government and industry experts. Final decisions are made by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ investment programmes team. All applicants are notified whether their proposals were successful.

Successful applicants will then finalise their project milestones and sign SLMACC funding contracts. Projects can begin as early as July 2020.

Eligibility criteria

Projects must:

  • positively impact on freshwater quality (nitrates, phosphates, sediment, and E. coli)
  • use scientifically robust methods
  • be compatible with common farm decision-support tool requirements (note that consulting with Overseer Ltd is required during the contracting phase)
  • produce publicly available data
  • be New Zealand system specific
  • have a budget between $200,000 and $2 million.

The proposed research can align with other government-funded projects, but must not duplicate their work.

Application assessment

Applications are assessed against 6 criteria to decide whether they qualify for funding, and how much they may receive. These criteria are:

  • cost and benefit
  • ability to deliver outcomes
  • alignment to research themes
  • impact and innovation
  • practicality
  • science excellence.

Preference is given to projects which:

  • will have a demonstrable impact on freshwater
  • primarily focus on nitrogen and phosphorous, with a secondary focus on sediment and E. coli
  • investigate existing mitigations which are short of data
  • allow early availability of data
  • study a broad range of trial conditions (such as soil type, terrain, or climate)
  • focus on mitigations which have farmer backing, and are practical for farmers to apply
  • investigate mitigations which can be brought to market quickly
  • have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

We encourage collaboration with:

  • local government
  • commercial entities
  • industry groups
  • catchment groups
  • farmers.

Applications should:

  • clearly describe the scientific methodology of the proposed work
  • consider key risks
  • identify the project’s benefits and outcomes, and describe how these will be measured
  • describe how the project will be successfully delivered
  • consider Māori aspirations and opportunities, where applicable
  • include a realistic and appropriate budget (with a breakdown including milestones, and the budget for each stage of the work)
  • include a well-considered project plan.

To assess your application, we need robust information and as much evidence as possible.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the SLMACC Freshwater Mitigation fund, email

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