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Modelling phosphorus fluxes in Loweswater

Goldsmith, BJ; Boyle, JF; Kernan, MR; Yang, H; Turner, SD; Bennion, HB; Shilland, EM; ... Smyntek, P; + view all (2014) Modelling phosphorus fluxes in Loweswater. (ECRC Research Report 159 ). UCL Environmental Change Research Centre: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

1. This is the final report to the Loweswater Care Project (in support of the Catchment Restoration Fund for England) ECRC-ENSIS Project 298, 'Loweswater 12-13'. The study was concerned with the spatial and temporal concentrations of sediment phosphorus (P) in the lake and the use of P measurements from the water column and inflow and outflow samples to derive a simple mass balance model for P in the lake. 2. A review of published and unpublished literature on Loweswater highlighted trends in water chemistry since the mid-eighteenth century. Land use and farming practises have changed over the past 200 years which have led to increased nutrient loading to the lake with significant increases occurring in the mid part of the last century. Agricultural intensification is likely to be a significant cause of the problem as well as inadequate septic tank management. Local management efforts, led by the Loweswater Care Project, has sought to reduce the primary sources of nutrients reaching the lake, but total phosphorus (TP) concentrations in the lake remain higher than desired. 3. Temperature and dissolved oxygen (DO) profiling confirmed that the site stratified in summer with major changes in DO occurring below a depth of 8 m. The deeper waters were almost entirely anoxic. During stratification the maximum TP value was recorded at the lake bottom. This is a clear indication that P is being released from the lake bed during summer stratification. 4. Analysis of the stream water from the Dub Beck inflow (data for 2013), shows that P influx remains high enough to explain the elevated lake water P concentrations, despite considerable efforts to reduce catchment P sources. 5. Analysis of the water column P profiles shows that P release from the sediment is only a minor contribution to the P load. While the sediment core data reveals a substantial pool of P in the sediment very little of this should be released each year to the water column. In 2013 it is estimated that more than 90% of the P came from the catchment and only ~10% from the sediment. 6. As with all modelling exercises there are uncertainties inherent in the approach. In this case the model output is based on a single year of input data for the inflow P flux calculations and it would be preferable to have a longer data series to inform the modelling. Inflow fluxes are highly dependent on flow conditions and here, in the absence of flow data from Dub Beck, we used data from a nearby stream. Further, the monthly sampling has resulted in most samples being taken in low flow conditions, thus missing potential storm flow conditions. Finally, stream input information is restricted to Dub Beck, and contributions from the other stream is unknown. 7. Nevertheless, the results from the modelling are clear and on that basis we conclude that the priority is for P loading to the lake to be reduced by better catchment management and that lake manipulation is not warranted. Integrated catchment management supported by modelling together with local stakeholder engagement should provide the most effective means of improving the condition of the lake.

Type: Report
Title: Modelling phosphorus fluxes in Loweswater
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/research/research-centr...
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10114776
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