Skip to content

AGU2011: Understanding nutrient connectivity at the landscape scale

Understanding nutrient connectivity at the landscape scale: The use of the SCIMAP approach in the UK and Ireland.

Sim M Reaney1, David Milledge1, Stuart N Lane2, Louise, Heathwaite3, Mairead Shore4, Alice Melland4, Phil Jordan4

1. Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom.
2. Faculté des géosciences et de l’environnement, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
3. Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom.
4. Agricultural Catchments Programme, Teagasc, Wexford, Ireland.
Many approaches to understanding diffuse pollution risk at the landscape scale have focused on its ‘sources’ and ‘mobilisation’ with a basic representation of the effect of connectivity between the landscape the receiving waters. Connectivity will determine whether source areas become critical source areas and create problems in the receiving waters. It is the landscape position of a source, both in terms of its upslope contributing area and its downslope flow path, that determine the likelihood of a connection being made. The SCIMAP approach, developed at Durham and Lancaster Universities with the Environment Agency, has taken a strongly connectivity driven approach, set within a risk based framework. SCIMAP aims to predict the location in the catchment that is most likely to be the source of an in stream water quality problem derived from diffuse pollution. The predictions are generated at a 5m-pixel level, to give within field estimates of risk and connectivity, and applied to whole landscapes (from 1 to 1000 km2 +) to give a broad overview of the issues. Recent work has shown that there is significant value in adding a detailed connectivity treatment when predicting measured patterns of water quality.
The SCIMAP approach to diffuse pollution risk mapping has been applied by: the Environment Agency under the Catchment Sensitive Farming program; the Teagasc ‘Agricultural Catchments’ program; the Defra funded ‘River Eden Demonstration Test Catchment’; and various river and wildlife trusts in the UK. This poster shows an overview of the SCIMAP approach and the results from both the Teagasc ‘Agricultural Catchments’ and the EdenDTC projects.

The full poster is on the AGU ePoster website.