Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mark Wilkinson,
Dr Paul Quinn,
Dr Jennine Jonczyk
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Intense farming plays a key role in increasing local scale runoff and erosion rates, resulting in water quality issues and flooding problems. There is potential for agricultural management to become a major part of improved strategies for controlling runoff. Here, a Catchment Systems Engineering (CSE) approach has been explored to solve the above problem. CSE is an interventionist approach to altering the catchment scale runoff regime through the manipulation of hydrological flow pathways throughout the catchment. By targeting hydrological flow pathways at source, such as overland flow, field drain and ditch function, a significant component of the runoff generation can be managed in turn reducing soil nutrient losses. The Belford catchment (5.7 km(2)) is a catchment scale study for which a CSE approach has been used to tackle a number of environmental issues. A variety of Runoff Attenuation Features (RAFs) have been implemented throughout the catchment to address diffuse pollution and flooding issues. The RAFs include bunds disconnecting flow pathways, diversion structures in ditches to spill and store high flows, large wood debris structure within the channel, and riparian zone management. Here a framework for applying a CSE approach to the catchment is shown in a step by step guide to implementing mitigation measures in the Belford Burn catchment. The framework is based around engagement with catchment stakeholders and uses evidence arising from field science. Using the framework, the flooding issue has been addressed at the catchment scale by altering the runoff regime. Initial findings suggest that RAFs have functioned as designed to reduce/attenuate runoff locally. However, evidence suggested that some RAFs needed modification and new RAFs be created to address diffuse pollution issues during storm events. Initial findings from these modified RAFs are showing improvements in sediment trapping capacities and reductions in phosphorus, nitrate and suspended sediment losses during storm events. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Author(s): Quinn PF; Jonczyk J; Wilkinson ME; Barber NJ
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Science of the Total Environment
Print publication date: 20/08/2013
ISSN (print): 0048-9697
ISSN (electronic): 1879-1026
Publisher: Elsevier BV
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