Water Management for Sustainable Use and Protection of Peatlands

Project AttributeProject Details
Project TitleWater Management for Sustainable Use and Protection of Peatlands
EPA Project Code2019-W-MS-42
Lead OrganisationNational University of Ireland Galway (NUIG)
CoordinatorMark Healy
EPA Research 2014 – 2020 Theme(s)Water: Theme 4: Understanding, Managing and Conserving our Water Resources
EPA Research Pillars
Project Start and End DatesStart: 01/04/2019
End (if applicable): 31/03/2022
Revised End Date (if applicable): 30/06/2022
EPA Project TypeMedium Scale Project
EPA Award TypeSTRIVE – Project Based Awards
Current Project StatusGrant Awarded
Total Funding Amount148242.25
Project Abstract/DescriptionIn Europe, peatlands have been drained for agriculture, forestryandpeat extraction. Peatland drainage leads to several negative impacts on water resources (e.g. drinking waterorrecreation) due to peat erosion, leaching of nutrients, organic matter and iron. The impacts of peatland drainage are also severe for the socio- economic system. Peatland management requires careful land and water management to reduce a range of negative impacts on water resources and their ecosystem services. However, lack of knowledge on land and water management is a key issue in peatland management, which hampers sound decision-making. This project will improve our knowledge on peatland hydrological and geochemical process, develop and test methods to reduce leaching and other negative impacts that occur after peatland drainage, and disseminate the knowledge gained to stakeholders. The Irish team will: (1) study peat soil geochemistry and reasons for nutrient, acidity, iron and dissolved organic carbon leaching in rainfall simulation experiments, (2) jointly review and test new options for mitigation and restoration to limit leaching and land and water resources degradation (3) develop with stakeholders improved options for land use planning, surveillance and zoning practices to reduce downstream environmental impacts, provide guidance for sustainable biomass production and maintenance of other ecosystem services. The project outputs include: • Data, conceptual and numerical models and a report on peatland hydrology and runoff water quality variations, • New methods to delineate peatlands forming the basis for peatland hydrological unit and peatland management and water protection • A critical review and an assessment of experience and expertise on mitigation methods (water treatment, restoration, land management), • Pilot tests on mitigation methods, • An on-line (open access) course on “peatland water management”, • Scientific papers in leading journals and presentation in relevant conferences (e.g. EGU sessions on “Peatland Hydrology” or “Peatlands Under Pressure”), • PhD from NUI Galway • Policy briefs and communications to stakeholders at relevant events (e.g. drainage days, water utility days etc.), • Face-to-face meetings with stakeholders such as ministries, and regional environmental protection.
EPA Scientific OfficerDorothyStewart

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