Background Image

Roland Stenger

Principal Scientist, Environmental

Roland Stenger

Dr.agr., Dipl.Ing.agr., TUM, Germany

Roland specialises in researching the movement of water, and transport and transformation of nitrogen, between a parcel of land and the receiving surface water. As defensible cause-effect relationships between land use and water pollution require both, the hydrological pathways and the contaminant transformations occurring along them to be understood, it has been a feature of his work to advance hydrological and biogeochemical research concurrently.

Roland has 20 years of experience working with New Zealand regional councils and primary industry organisations, both through collaboration in government-funded research programmes and through consulting projects.

Roland led the “Transfer Pathways Programme” funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment from 2015-2018 and now leads its successor programme. This new “Critical Pathways Programme” focuses particularly on unravelling the typically shallow and relatively fast pathways between a parcel of land and a local stream or small river. Roland also contributes to the “Enhanced Mitigation of Nitrate in Groundwater” programme led by Environmental Science and Research (ESR), the “Doubling Diffuse Pollution Mitigation” programme led by the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), and the “Sources and Flows” programme of the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge.

He has published over 30 journal articles, contributed to a number of book publications, and is a reviewer for several academic journals including Hydrological Processes; Biogeosciences; Geoderma; Journal of Environmental Quality; European Journal of Soil Science; Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.

Roland is an active member of the New Zealand Hydrological Society and the New Zealand Society of Soil Science and sits on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the “Land Use and Water Quality” conference series – assisting in organising the biennial conferences in Austria (2015), Netherlands (2017) and Denmark (2019).

Roland’s research areas include:

  • Quantification of pathway-specific transfers of nitrogen and phosphorus from land to surface waters that take lag times and attenuation into account.
  • Biogeochemical and hydrological controls on denitrification in the vadose zone-groundwater zone continuum.
  • Redox-stratification of groundwater systems.
  • Harnessing built and natural nitrogen attenuation capacity to optimise land use patterns.
See Also

Research to reveal effect of climate change on Waikato River


Routine stream monitoring data enables the unravelling of hydrological pathways and transfers of agricultural contaminants through catchments, Science of the Total Environment
Stenger R, Park J, Clague J.
Improving accuracy of quantifying nitrate removal performance and enhancing understanding of processes in woodchip bioreactors using high-frequency data, “Science of The Total Environment”
Rivas A, Barkle G, Sarris T, Park J, Kenny A, Maxwell B, Stenger R, Moorhead B, Schipper L, Clague J
High-frequency spatiotemporal data improves estimates of nitrate removal performance and understanding of processes in woodchip bioreactors, Adaptive Strategies for Future Farming
Rivas A, Barkle G, Park J, Moorhead B, Maxwell B, Stenger R, Schipper L, Clague J
Combining surface water monitoring, age-dating, and parsimonious modelling to unravel water and contaminant pathways through catchments, Adaptive Strategies for Future Farming
Stenger R, Park J, Morgenstern U, Hadfield J, Rivas A, Clague J
Woodchip bioreactors – design considerations, New Zealand Land Treatment Collective Annual Conference: Improving outcomes for land treatmen
Barkle, G., Rivas, A., Moorhead, B., Stenger, R., Schipper, L., & Clague, J.
The importance of the hydrological pathways in exporting nitrogen from grazed artificially drained land Journal of Hydrology, 597: 126218
Barkle, G., Stenger, R., Moorhead, B., Clague, J
A novel method for calculating nitrate removal rates in woodchip bioreactors using data from high-frequency monitoring. Weathering the Storm Conference Handbook, Oral abstracts.
Rivas, A., Barkle, G., Maxwell, B., Moorhead, B., Stenger, R., Park, J., Schipper, L., and Clague, J
Synoptic flow gaugings/stream sampling to unravel heterogeneity within catchments NZHS, NZ Rivers Group and NZFSS Joint Conference
Stenger. R, Rivas.A, Brakle.G, Clague.J, Moorhead.B, Park.J, Morgenstern.U
Synoptic gaugings/samplings to elucidate water and nutrient fluxes within catchments, NZ-China Water Research Centre workshop
Stenger, R, Rivas, A, Barkle, G, Owers, J, Clague, J, Moorhead, B, Park, J, Morgenstern, U.
Extension of Bayesian chemistry-assisted hydrograph separation to reveal water quality trends (BACH2), “Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment”
Woodward, S.J.R., Stenger, R.
Likely controls on dissolved reactive phosphorus concentrations in baseflow of an agricultural stream, “Journal of Soils and Sediments Journal of Soils and Sediments”
McDowell, R.W., Depree, C., Stenger, R
Achieving unbiased predictions of national-scale groundwater redox conditions via data oversampling and statistical learning. Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 705, 135877 14pp.
Wilson, S. R., Close, M. E., Abraham, P., Sarris, T. S. Banasiak, L., Stenger, R., Hadfield,
Nitrate removal and secondary effects of a woodchip bioreactor for the treatment of subsurface drainage with dynamic flows under pastoral agriculture, “Ecological Engineering”
Rivas, A., Barkle, G., Stenger, R., Moorhead, B. Clague, J
Determining spatial variability of nitrate removal in a woodchip bioreactor through high frequency monitoring at multiple locations, FLRC 2020
Aldrin Rivas, Greg Barkle, Bryan Maxwell, Brian Moorhead, Roland Stenger, Louis Schipper, François Birgand, Juliet Clague
Pilot-scale woodchip bioreactor for removing nitrate from artificial drainage in a Waikato dairy farm, A Workshop on Innovations for Attenuating Nutrient Loss from Farms
A. Rivas, G. Barkle, B. Moorhead, J. Clague, & R. Stenger
Development of a national-scale framework to characterise transfers of N, P and Escherichia coli from land to water, “NZ Journal of Agricultural Research”
Srinivasan, M. S., Muirhead, R. W., Singh, S, K., Monaghan, R. M., Stenger, R., Close, M. E., Manderson, A., Drewry, J. J., Smith, L. C., Selbie, D., Hodson, R