Spatial modeling of sediment transfer and identification of sediment sources during snowmelt in an agricultural watershed in boreal climate

Carlos Gonzales-Inca, Pasi Valkama, Jan-Olof Lill, Joakim Slotte, Eila Hietaharju, Risto Uusitalo

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Sediment transfer patterns during snowmelt were studied in a small Finnish agricultural watershed. Erosionrates were high as a consequence of high runoff volumes over saturated soil that partly lacked vegetationcover. Automatic high-frequencymonitoring data of sediment and phosphorus concentrations in stream showeda clock-wise hysteresis loop as a dominant pattern. GIS-based modeling of runoff and soil erosion, using LiDARDTMdata, suggested that runoff and erosion mostly camefromcropland that had the highest sediment contribution index. Also sediment fingerprinting with Cesium-137 suggested cropland and stream bank were the most important sources of suspended sediments in streams. Because a major part of annual sediment transfer takes place during snowmelt, it is a critical period for annual losses of pollutants. Management practices that minimize springtime sediment and pollutant losses from cropland would be needed to make a marked impact on annual pollution transfer to stream waters.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)303–312
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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