New dust monitors are going up in Hawke's Bay's Heretaunga Plains to see how much soil is being lost through wind erosion and what it means for air quality.
The 300 square kilometre plains are home to the towns of Napier, Hastings and Havelock North as well as farmland.
Wind erosion has become problem in the region, but there has so far been no way to quantify how bad it is, Hawke's Bay Regional Council principal land scientist Barry Lynch says.
To get an idea how much soil is being lost and which areas are worst affected, 10 new dust monitors are being set up.
"We can then look at ways of working with the community to improve the situation," Dr Lynch said.
The monitors will also help towns in the region determine how much nuisance dust is settling and affecting their community facilities.
The initial 10 monitors will be a simple design that needs to be physically checked on a regular basis.
However, the council plans to replace them next financial year with more high-tech devices providing real-time digital information, Dr Lynch said.