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A multi-scale framework for strategic management of diffuse pollution
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Dr Casper Hewett
Dr Paul Quinn
Dr Aidan Doyle
Dr Sean Burke
Hewett CJM, Quinn PF, Heathwaite AL, Doyle A, Burke S, Whitehead PG, Lerner DN
Environmental Modelling & Software
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The EPSRC SEAL (Strategic managEment of non-point source pollution from sewAge sLudge) project was multi-centre, multi-disciplinary research project involving field experiments and predictive modelling at a variety of scales to meet the pressures on land and water resources in the UK linked to sewage sludge (biosolids) recycling to land. A multi-scale framework for strategic management of diffuse pollution is proposed as a conceptualisation of the strategy taken within SEAL, and as a possible mode to drive IRBM forward more generally, taking on board the philosophy of Earth Systems Engineering and Management (ESEM). The framework uses a combination of experiments, models, communication, education and decision support tools to arrive at a realistic strategy for improved land management practice. Effective partnerships between researchers and stakeholders play a key part in successful implementation of this strategy. The Decision Support Matrix (DSM) is introduced as a set of visualisations that can be used at all scales, both to inform decision making and as a communication tool in stakeholder workshops. A demonstration farm used in SEAL is presented and one of its fields is taken as a case study. The hydrological and nutrient flow path models used within SEAL for event based simulation (TOPCAT), catchment scale modelling (INCA) and field scale flow visualisation (TopManage) are used to develop the case study. One of the DSMs developed in SEAL; The Phosphorus Export Risk Matrix (PERM) is discussed in some detail. The PERM was developed in an iterative way as a point of discussion in stakeholder workshops, as a decision support tool and as an education tool. The resulting interactive PERM contains a set of questions and proposed remediation measures that reflect both expert and local knowledge. Education and visualisation tools such as GIS, risk indicators, TopManage and the PERM are found to be invaluable in communicating improved farming practice to stakeholders.
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