Characterisation of agricultural drainage ditch sediments along the phosphorus transfer continuum in two contrasting headwater catchments

M. Shore, P. Jordan, P.-E. Mellander, M. Kelly-Quinn, K. Daly, J.T. Sims, D.P. Wall, A.R. Melland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

PurposeThis study investigated the phosphorus (P) source, mobilisation and transport potential of ditch bed sediments as well as surrounding field and bank soils in two agricultural headwater catchments with contrasting soil drainage capacities. This information is important for discerning the potential for ditches to attenuate or augment transfers of P from upstream sources and thus for developing appropriate management strategies for these features.Materials and methodsPhosphorus sources were characterised using the Mehlich3-P, water-soluble P and total P tests. Phosphorus mobilisation potential was characterised using the Mehlich3-AL/P, Mehlich3-Ca/P and DESPRAL P tests. Phosphorus transport potential was characterised using data collected on the presence/absence of surface water in ditches during field surveys and downstream turbidity data.Results and discussionDitch sediments had similar P source contents (Mehlich3-P, water-soluble P and total P) to the surrounding field soils and higher P contents than bank soils. However, calcium contents of sediments in the poorly drained catchment reflected the deep sub-soils rather than the surrounding field and bank soils. Mehlich3-Al/P and Mehlich3-Ca/P contents of ditch sediments in the well (non-calcareous) and poorly (calcareous) drained catchments respectively indicated potential for P retention (above thresholds of 11.7 and 74, respectively). However, sediments were less aggregated than field soils and may mobilise more particulate P (PP) during rain events. Nevertheless, the majority of surveyed ditches dried out from March to September 2011; thus, their potential to mobilise PP may be less important than their capacity to attenuate soluble and PP during this time.ConclusionsIn these and similar catchments, soluble P attenuation and particulate P mobilisation should be maximised and minimised, respectively, for example, by cleaning out the sediments before they become saturated with P and encouraging vegetation growth on ditch beds. This study also highlighted the influence of deep sub-soils on soluble P retention in ditches and thus the utility of characterising soils below depths normally included in soil classifications.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1643-1654
JournalJournal of Soils and Sediments
Volume16
Issue number5
Early online date29 Dec 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016

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headwater
catchment
drainage
phosphorus
sediment
mobilization
soil
subsoil
soil drainage
soil classification
ditch
field survey
turbidity
surface water
water
vegetation

Keywords

  • Attenuation
  • Drainage ditches
  • Mobilisation
  • Phosphorus
  • Sediment

Cite this

Shore, M. ; Jordan, P. ; Mellander, P.-E. ; Kelly-Quinn, M. ; Daly, K. ; Sims, J.T. ; Wall, D.P. ; Melland, A.R. / Characterisation of agricultural drainage ditch sediments along the phosphorus transfer continuum in two contrasting headwater catchments. In: Journal of Soils and Sediments. 2016 ; Vol. 16, No. 5. pp. 1643-1654.
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Characterisation of agricultural drainage ditch sediments along the phosphorus transfer continuum in two contrasting headwater catchments. / Shore, M.; Jordan, P.; Mellander, P.-E.; Kelly-Quinn, M.; Daly, K.; Sims, J.T.; Wall, D.P.; Melland, A.R.

In: Journal of Soils and Sediments, Vol. 16, No. 5, 01.05.2016, p. 1643-1654.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Characterisation of agricultural drainage ditch sediments along the phosphorus transfer continuum in two contrasting headwater catchments

AU - Shore, M.

AU - Jordan, P.

AU - Mellander, P.-E.

AU - Kelly-Quinn, M.

AU - Daly, K.

AU - Sims, J.T.

AU - Wall, D.P.

AU - Melland, A.R.

PY - 2016/5/1

Y1 - 2016/5/1

N2 - PurposeThis study investigated the phosphorus (P) source, mobilisation and transport potential of ditch bed sediments as well as surrounding field and bank soils in two agricultural headwater catchments with contrasting soil drainage capacities. This information is important for discerning the potential for ditches to attenuate or augment transfers of P from upstream sources and thus for developing appropriate management strategies for these features.Materials and methodsPhosphorus sources were characterised using the Mehlich3-P, water-soluble P and total P tests. Phosphorus mobilisation potential was characterised using the Mehlich3-AL/P, Mehlich3-Ca/P and DESPRAL P tests. Phosphorus transport potential was characterised using data collected on the presence/absence of surface water in ditches during field surveys and downstream turbidity data.Results and discussionDitch sediments had similar P source contents (Mehlich3-P, water-soluble P and total P) to the surrounding field soils and higher P contents than bank soils. However, calcium contents of sediments in the poorly drained catchment reflected the deep sub-soils rather than the surrounding field and bank soils. Mehlich3-Al/P and Mehlich3-Ca/P contents of ditch sediments in the well (non-calcareous) and poorly (calcareous) drained catchments respectively indicated potential for P retention (above thresholds of 11.7 and 74, respectively). However, sediments were less aggregated than field soils and may mobilise more particulate P (PP) during rain events. Nevertheless, the majority of surveyed ditches dried out from March to September 2011; thus, their potential to mobilise PP may be less important than their capacity to attenuate soluble and PP during this time.ConclusionsIn these and similar catchments, soluble P attenuation and particulate P mobilisation should be maximised and minimised, respectively, for example, by cleaning out the sediments before they become saturated with P and encouraging vegetation growth on ditch beds. This study also highlighted the influence of deep sub-soils on soluble P retention in ditches and thus the utility of characterising soils below depths normally included in soil classifications.

AB - PurposeThis study investigated the phosphorus (P) source, mobilisation and transport potential of ditch bed sediments as well as surrounding field and bank soils in two agricultural headwater catchments with contrasting soil drainage capacities. This information is important for discerning the potential for ditches to attenuate or augment transfers of P from upstream sources and thus for developing appropriate management strategies for these features.Materials and methodsPhosphorus sources were characterised using the Mehlich3-P, water-soluble P and total P tests. Phosphorus mobilisation potential was characterised using the Mehlich3-AL/P, Mehlich3-Ca/P and DESPRAL P tests. Phosphorus transport potential was characterised using data collected on the presence/absence of surface water in ditches during field surveys and downstream turbidity data.Results and discussionDitch sediments had similar P source contents (Mehlich3-P, water-soluble P and total P) to the surrounding field soils and higher P contents than bank soils. However, calcium contents of sediments in the poorly drained catchment reflected the deep sub-soils rather than the surrounding field and bank soils. Mehlich3-Al/P and Mehlich3-Ca/P contents of ditch sediments in the well (non-calcareous) and poorly (calcareous) drained catchments respectively indicated potential for P retention (above thresholds of 11.7 and 74, respectively). However, sediments were less aggregated than field soils and may mobilise more particulate P (PP) during rain events. Nevertheless, the majority of surveyed ditches dried out from March to September 2011; thus, their potential to mobilise PP may be less important than their capacity to attenuate soluble and PP during this time.ConclusionsIn these and similar catchments, soluble P attenuation and particulate P mobilisation should be maximised and minimised, respectively, for example, by cleaning out the sediments before they become saturated with P and encouraging vegetation growth on ditch beds. This study also highlighted the influence of deep sub-soils on soluble P retention in ditches and thus the utility of characterising soils below depths normally included in soil classifications.

KW - Attenuation

KW - Drainage ditches

KW - Mobilisation

KW - Phosphorus

KW - Sediment

U2 - 10.1007/s11368-015-1330-0

DO - 10.1007/s11368-015-1330-0

M3 - Article

VL - 16

SP - 1643

EP - 1654

JO - Journal of Soils and Sediments

T2 - Journal of Soils and Sediments

JF - Journal of Soils and Sediments

SN - 1439-0108

IS - 5

ER -