The scale problem in tackling diffuse water pollution from agriculture: Insights from the Avon Demonstration Test

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Biddulph, M., Collins, A. L., Foster, I. D. L. and Holmes, N. 2017. The scale problem in tackling diffuse water pollution from agriculture: Insights from the Avon Demonstration Test. River Research and Applications. 33 (10), pp. 1527-1538.

AuthorsBiddulph, M., Collins, A. L., Foster, I. D. L. and Holmes, N.
Abstract

Mitigation of diffuse water pollution from agriculture is of concern in the United Kingdom, so that freshwater quality can be improved in line with environmental objectives. Targeted on‐farm mitigation is necessary for controlling sources of pollution to rivers; a positive impact must also be delivered at the subcatchment and catchment scales before good ecological status can be achieved. A farm on the River Sem in the Hampshire Avon Demonstration Test Catchment was selected for monitoring due to its degraded farmyard, track, and drainage ditch, which was targeted by the Demonstration Test Catchment programme for improvement using a treatment train of interventions. The river was monitored before and after, upstream and downstream, of the potential sources of pollution and subsequent mitigation, both locally at farm scale, and downstream at the subcatchment scale. Sediment was obtained from the riverbed using a conventional disturbance technique, and source samples were collected from across the subcatchment. Samples were analysed for geochemistry, mineral magnetism, and environmental radionuclide activity using the <63‐μm fraction, before sediment source fingerprinting was conducted to apportion sources. Source tracing revealed that, although the degraded farm track was experiencing channelized flow and erosion in the pre‐mitigation period, it was not a major sediment source even at farm scale. Repeat source apportionment during the pre‐ and post‐mitigation periods showed that the targeted treatment train did not result in statistically significant decreases in predicted contributions from the farm track sources at either scale. Sediment sources must be determined at a range of spatial scales to support effective mitigation.

KeywordsAgriculture; Connectivity; Diffuse water pollution; Mitigation; Sediment fingerprinting; Water quality
Year of Publication2017
JournalRiver Research and Applications
Journal citation33 (10), pp. 1527-1538
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1002/rra.3222
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderUniversity of Northampton
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition [ISPG]
WQ0225
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online09 Oct 2017
Publication process dates
Accepted04 Sep 2017
Copyright licenseCC BY
PublisherWiley-Blackwell
Wiley
ISSN1535-1459

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