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Strategies to improve Water quality from Managed Peatlands

Project AttributeProject Details
Project TitleStrategies to improve Water quality from Managed Peatlands
EPA Project Code2018-W-LS-18
Lead OrganisationUniversity College Dublin (UCD)
CoordinatorFlorence Renou-Wilson
EPA Research 2014 – 2020 Theme(s)Water: Theme 4: Understanding, Managing and Conserving our Water Resources
EPA Research Pillars
Project Start and End DatesStart: 01/03/2019
End (if applicable): 28/02/2023
Revised End Date (if applicable):
EPA Project TypeLarge Scale Project
EPA Award TypeSTRIVE – Project Based Awards
Current Project StatusGrant Awarded
Total Funding Amount500503.41
Project Abstract/DescriptionPeatland drainage has disturbed nearly 90% of peat soils in Ireland and potentially led to the deterioration of water quality in affected catchments. The peat extraction sector must develop mitigation strategies that ensure the status of water bodies is protected, maintained and improved in line with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and Flood Directive. Robust mitigation measures must ensure reliable water purification methods as well as peak flow control, such as controlled flooding in ditches and flood plains. Ultimately, sustainable and effective watershed management to prevent environmental degradation will combine site-specific technological measures to reduce pollutants together with the restoration of previously degraded peatlands and carefully planned rehabilitation of cutaways/cutovers. The SWAMP project aims (1) to appraise the significance and extent of contaminants in drained/mined peatlands and affected catchments; (2) evaluate/develop robust methods and treatment technologies to prevent and reduce pollution at site levels and develop best practice guidelines to apply in this sector; (3) propose predictive tools for effective watershed management involving drained/mined peatlands that would include land use management and sustainable restoration and after-use of cutaway/cutover bogs in order to protect water quality with potential for synergy with biodiversity-climate change measures and policies. 1. State-of-the-art report critically assessing existing eco-hydrological datasets; identifying knowledge gaps; reviewing the main water-related problems and potential mitigation measures/technical solutions. 2. Comprehensive hydrometric and nutrient monitoring networks in catchment areas covering a range of peatland conditions. 3. Database to include past/new field observations of all hydrological data and physico-chemical and biological composition of water samples and associated peatlands parameters; ecosystem properties and measurement protocols. 4. 6 peer-reviewed publications addressing (1) the extent, significance, causes and impacts of peatland drainage/extraction on the health of downstream aquatic bodies; (2) strategies for the rehabilitation and land use management practice of cutaway/cutover peatlands according to their environmental profile with a view to meeting WFD and biodiversity and climate change mitigation targets; (3) Hydrological models for cutaway/cutover peatlands predict chemical transport and impact of treatment technologies on nutrient retention and prediction of expected pollution levels in affected streams. 5. Best Practice Guidelines for environmental protection in peat extraction including robust water purification methods which can be readily used by the EPA 6. Knowledge capacity building available to EPA and peat industry. 7. Communication platform to boost research-industry collaboration, raise water quality awareness and disseminate audience-adapted outputs to all relevant stakeholders.
EPA Scientific OfficerDorothyStewart
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