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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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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: Journal 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: 24 Jan 2018 00:04
Identification Number:

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