Organic nutrients: defining risk and managing transfers at catchment scale

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Organic nutrients: defining risk and managing transfers at catchment scale

The specific water quality risk associated with organic nutrient management practices is unclear due to difficulties with disaggregating organic sources from soil nutrient sources, and the need to capture data during storm runoff events. Emerging tracer technologies are expensive, require a high level of technical expertise and are only suited to ad hoc storm sampling. An appreciation of hydrological connectivity from sensitive parts of catchments is also required for catchment policy development to prioritise those places at highest risk during storm runoff periods. This is now possible for small fields dominated by micro-topography using higher resolution DEM datasets. To develop the science and aid in policy reviews of organic nutrient management, this project will combine tracer technologies with high-resolution stream nutrient data and spatial data to develop a near-continuous proxy for assessing organic nutrient transfer risk to water in time and space. The method will then be applied to a range of catchments to inform reviews of current agri-environmental policies.

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  • Rothamsted Research

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