Eutrophication From Agricultural Sources - Soil and Phosphorus: Catchment Studies

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Resource or Project Abstract

This project examined, over the 12-month period January?December 2002, the phosphorus (P) in stream run-off from three grassland catchments in Ireland: the Dripsey in County Cork, the Oona Water in County Tyrone, and the Clarianna in County Tipperary. In each catchment, three or four river monitoring stations for flow and P fraction concentrations were set up in a nested catchment arrangement at scales of 0.15?85 km2. The objectives were to investigate the processes responsible for P transfer from fertilised grassland soils to streams and to investigate the patterns of such transfers. The P sorption and desorption characteristics of soil samples from each catchment were also determined (and are reported separately as part of LS2.1.1b). The catchments were characterised by similar land use (grassland) and a gradient of soil P fertility. The differences were mainly soil type (and associated chemistry affecting P retention) and soil hydrology (affecting P run-off).
The distribution of rainfall across the three catchments during 2002 was very similar and most storms were recorded concurrently (1 to 2 days) in all three catchments despite the distance between them. However, the hydrological responses of the three catchments were different. In the two catchments with soil types of moderate to impeded drainage (Dripsey and Oona) and intensive grassland agriculture, the P losses to surface water were three to five times higher than required for good stream water quality. In the well-drained calcareous soils of the Clarianna catchment, the P losses to surface water were approximately ten times lower than in the Dripsey or Oona. In the three catchments, the greatest P losses were associated with storm events and high stream flows particularly in autumn and early winter. Soil type through its influence on P chemistry and flow pathways was identified as a major determinant of potential P loss. Catchment scale was also important. As scale increases, factors such as increased variability in land use, hydrological difference and in-stream processes determine the catchment response. For example, in both the Dripsey and Clarianna, the export of P decreased with increasing size of catchment. In contrast, in the Oona Water catchment, P export increased with increasing catchment size. The timing of chemical fertiliser and slurry applications influences the P export to streams. Phosphorus loss to groundwater was also found in the Clarianna.
Specifically, it was found that agriculture was a major source of P loss to water in the three rural catchments studied. In all three catchments the average soil test phosphorus (as Morgan?s P) was between 10 and 12 mg/l (STP Index 4). The magnitude of P loss (kg/ha) depends on the soil type and timing of fertilisation. Highly fertilised soils transfer soluble or particulate P depending on the adsorptive capacity of the soil (soluble P) and the permeability of the soil (particulate P). The timing of fertilisation particularly with slurry spread in wet months is susceptible to transfer to watercourses when rainfall occurs after the application.
Approximately 80% of P export was in the October to February period. In the Oona catchment, the high particulate P loss was associated with the most severe storms. In all three catchments, high P concentrations were associated with peak stream discharges. The Clarianna calcareous soils, in addition to providing chemical sites for P precipitation, have deep Quaternary sediments that provide a significant P sink. However, the capacity of this sink to store additional P is unknown. Particulate P was re-mobilised during dredging of the Clarianna. Agricultural catchments with non-calcareous fertilised soils that are low in aluminium, high in organic matter and have a flashy hydrological response to rainfall are at risk of P transfer via desorption and detachment.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Prof Gerard Kiely
UCC University
Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering.
Department of Civil Engineering, Cork City, UCC University, Cork City County Cork, Ireland
Telephone: 021 12394857
e-mail: gerkeily@ucc.ie

Dr. Gerard Morgan
Environmental Research Institute (UCC)
Manager Aquatic Services Unit
Environmental Research Institute (UCC), Lee Road, Cork, Cork City, Ireland
Telephone: + 353 (0)21 4901935
e-mail: aquaticservices@ucc.ie

Dr. Xie Quishi
Environmental Research Institute (UCC)
Laboratory Manager/Analyst Aquatic Services Unit
Environmental Research Institute (UCC), Lee Road, Cork, Cork City, Ireland
Telephone: + 353 (0)21 4901935
e-mail: aquaticservices@ucc.ie

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Attachment Name and Download Link
End of Project Report    ERTDI_76_Kiely_CatchmentStudies_epr.pdf  (3.76 Mb)
Project Synthesis Report    ERTDI_76_Kiely_CatchmentStudies_syn.pdf  (1.61 Mb)
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    ERTDI_76_Kiely_CatchmentStudies_web.pdf  (1.61 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)Kiely, G. Morgan, G. Quishi, X.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationEutrophication From Agricultural Sources - Soil and Phosphorus: Catchment Studies
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=396443cd-749f-102b-aa08-55a7497570d3
Unique Identifier396443cd-749f-102b-aa08-55a7497570d3
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2017-11-18

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Kiely, G. Morgan, G. Quishi, X.   "Eutrophication From Agricultural Sources - Soil and Phosphorus: Catchment Studies". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=396443cd-749f-102b-aa08-55a7497570d3 (Last Accessed: 2017-11-18)

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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/iso19115/display?isoID=67
Resource KeywordsEutrophication Agricultural Soil Phosphorus Catchment
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2000-LS-2.1.1a-M1
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeWater Quality
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Public-Open
Limitations on the use of this ResourceThe authors of this report and the EPA requests an acknowledgement (in publications, conference papers, etc) from those who use information or data received from this online system, its tools and software.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 3
Project Start Date Tuesday 1st January 2002 (01-01-2002)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Tuesday 1st January 2002 (01-01-2002)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Tuesday 31st December 2002 (31-12-2002)
Published on SAFERFriday 16th May 2008 (16-05-2008)
Date of Last EditFriday 16th May 2008 at 15:07:41 (16-05-2008)
Datasets or Files Updated On Friday 16th May 2008 at 14:49:03 (16-05-2008)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
This project examined, over the 12-month period January?December 2002, the phosphorus (P) in stream run-off from three grassland catchments in Ireland: the Dripsey in County Cork, the Oona Water in County Tyrone, and the Clarianna in County Tipperary. In each catchment, three or four river monitoring stations for flow and P fraction concentrations were set up in a nested catchment arrangement at scales of 0.15?85 km2 The soil types were dissimilar in the three catchments and characterised as: ? Dripsey: neutral soils, mostly Brown Podzolic with some Gleys, impeded to free draining ? Oona Water: drumlin soils, mostly surface and groundwater Gleys of moderately acidic nature, impeded drainage ? Clarianna: calcareous soils of neutral to alkaline pH representing a mix of Grey Brown Podzols, Gleys,Peats and Brown Earths, free draining. Please see the Geographical Bounding Box section below for more details.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
Eutrophication is one of the most pervasive water quality problems in Europe. It is widely recognised that phosphorus (P) is the limiting plant nutrient in freshwaters. This was a collaborative project between University College Cork (UCC), University of Ulster (UU), University of Limerick (UL) and Teagasc. Three agricultural river catchments were used as field sites and associated water chemistry was determined in the participants? laboratory facilities. Teagasc at the Johnstown Castle research laboratory in Wexford undertook soil studies.
Supplementary Information
Others who contributed to this work and who are co-authors on the final report are:

Richard Moles,Bernadette O?Regan,Paul Byrne
The Centre for Environmental Research
University of Limerick
Limerick
Ireland

Philip Jordan,Wayne Manary
School of Environmental Sciences
University of Ulster at Coleraine
Cromore Road
Co. Londonderry
BT52 1SA
Northern Ireland
Links To Other Related Resources
  http://www.ucc.ie/asu/html/research.html (Opens in a new window)
  http://www.ucc.ie/en/ERI/ (Opens in a new window)

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