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Grassed buffer strips for the control of nitrate leaching to surface waters in headwater catchments.

Leeds-Harrison, P. B. and Quinton, John N. and Walker, M. J. and Sanders, C. L. and Harrod, T. (1999) Grassed buffer strips for the control of nitrate leaching to surface waters in headwater catchments. Ecological Engineering, 12 (3-4). pp. 299-313. ISSN 0925-8574

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    Abstract

    The use of riparian buffer strips is a possible strategy for controlling diffuse nitrate pollution of surface water in agricultural catchments. Data collected from paired buffered and unbuffered headwater catchments at three sites with conditions representative of much of the agricultural land in England and Wales, showed that grassed buffers did not substantially reduce nitrate–nitrogen concentrations entering the streams. Median nitrate–nitrogen levels observed in buffered catchments ranged from 7.6 to 18.8 mgN l−1, but peaked at up to 46.1 mgN l−1. The existence of preferential bypass flow paths during the winter flow events limited the effectiveness of nitrate removing processes within the strips. The findings suggest that grassed riparian buffer strips may not be effective in controlling diffuse nitrate pollution unless the hydrology of the strip allows a suitable environment for denitrification and/or plant uptake. Grassed buffer strips should be carefully targeted or, alternatively, engineered to ensure adequate residence time of solutes within the strip.

    Item Type: Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Ecological Engineering
    Additional Information: 183AL ECOL ENG
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Grassed buffer strip ; Nitrate removal ; Hydrology ; Headwater catchments
    Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
    Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
    ID Code: 13145
    Deposited By: Dr John Quinton
    Deposited On: 12 Feb 2009 09:25
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 15:05
    Identification Number:
    URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/13145

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