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Integrating farming systems and landscape processes to assess management impacts on suspended sediment loads

Vigiak, O; Newham, Lachlan; Whitford, J; Roberts, A M; Rattray, D.; Melland, A R

Description

A catchment-scale framework was developed to assess the contribution of sediment sources from farm management actions, gully and streambank erosion on the suspended sediment loads delivered to rivers and associated wetlands and floodplains for two catchments (Avon Richardson, 2885 km2 and Avoca, 4550 km2) in Victoria, south-eastern Australia. After considering commonly available data sets, outputs from the point-scale model (HowLeaky2008) were coupled to a catchment scale framework (CatchMODS)....[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorVigiak, O
dc.contributor.authorNewham, Lachlan
dc.contributor.authorWhitford, J
dc.contributor.authorRoberts, A M
dc.contributor.authorRattray, D.
dc.contributor.authorMelland, A R
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T23:16:25Z
dc.identifier.issn1364-8152
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/65048
dc.description.abstractA catchment-scale framework was developed to assess the contribution of sediment sources from farm management actions, gully and streambank erosion on the suspended sediment loads delivered to rivers and associated wetlands and floodplains for two catchments (Avon Richardson, 2885 km2 and Avoca, 4550 km2) in Victoria, south-eastern Australia. After considering commonly available data sets, outputs from the point-scale model (HowLeaky2008) were coupled to a catchment scale framework (CatchMODS). Spatially constant, linear scaling factors were used to link point-scale water surplus to streamflow and gross soil loss to hillslope erosion. The model was calibrated against discharge and suspended sediment loads estimated at water quality monitoring gauging stations. Following calibration, estimates of annual and monthly streamflow and 10-year average annual sediment loads were in good agreement with observations. Catchment-scale outputs, particularly sediment loads, were sensitive to scaling factors. The high sensitivity coupled with limited data hindered tight identification of sediment scaling parameters, therefore sediment outputs were uncertain, particularly in the Avoca catchment. Propagation of uncertainty in parameter estimation to model estimates was assessed qualitatively. The boundaries of model estimations were assessed by retaining predictions of behavioural parameter sets, defined as parameter sets that resulted in efficiencies of sediment load and specific sediment yield estimations not more than 5% lower than the efficiency of the optimal parameter set. Under current management conditions, mean annual suspended sediment load at the Avon-Richardson catchment outlet was estimated to be 3350 (3300-3700) t y-1, of which hillslope erosion contributed 65% (60-80%) and gully erosion 35% (20-40%). In the Avoca catchment, annual suspended sediment load was estimated to be 4000 (3500-5100) t y-1, of which hillslope erosion contributed 17% (5-24%), gully erosion 72% (55-93%), and streambank erosion 11% (1-21%). In the Avon-Richardson catchment management scenarios showed that alternative farming systems focussed on retaining vegetation cover throughout the year would yield a 50 per cent reduction of suspended sediment load, estimated at 1700 t y-1. In contrast, fencing and revegetation of connected gullies was estimated to yield the largest reduction in suspended sediment load (1770 t y-1, 44% of current load) in the Avoca catchment. The framework provides an improved tool to make more informed decisions about how much suspended sediment loads can be reduced in response to farm management actions, gully and streambank protection. Its primary strength lies in the ability to propagate farm management impacts to the catchment scale. Other valuable features for use by natural resource management agencies include a high level of transparency, availability of user-friendly interfaces, and a modular structure that provides flexibility and adaptability to new systems.
dc.publisherPergamon-Elsevier Ltd
dc.sourceEnvironmental Modelling and Software
dc.subjectKeywords: Catchment management; Catchment scale; CatchMODS; Current loads; Data sets; Eastern Australia; Erosion model; Farm management; Farming system; Flood-plains; Gauging stations; Gully erosion; High sensitivity; Hillslope erosion; HowLeaky2008; Informed decis CatchMODS; Erosion model; HowLeaky2008; Model coupling; Sediments; Water quality
dc.titleIntegrating farming systems and landscape processes to assess management impacts on suspended sediment loads
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume26
dc.date.issued2011
local.identifier.absfor050203 - Environmental Education and Extension
local.identifier.absfor160507 - Environment Policy
local.identifier.ariespublicationf2965xPUB1043
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationVigiak, O, VIC Department of Primary Industries
local.contributor.affiliationNewham, Lachlan, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationWhitford, J, VIC Department of Primary Industries
local.contributor.affiliationRoberts, A M, VIC Department of Primary Industries
local.contributor.affiliationRattray, D., University of Southern Queensland
local.contributor.affiliationMelland, A R, VIC Department of Primary Industries
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue2
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage144
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage162
local.identifier.doi10.1016/j.envsoft.2010.09.001
local.identifier.absseo919901 - Carbon and Emissions Trading
local.identifier.absseo960301 - Climate Change Adaptation Measures
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T08:08:24Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-78049262409
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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