Assessing suspended sediment dynamics in relation to ecological thresholds and sampling strategies in two Irish headwater catchments

J. Thompson, R. Cassidy, D.G. Doody, R. Flynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prediction of the impact of suspended sediment on aquatic ecosystems requires adequate knowledge of sediment dynamics in surface waters. Often, studies reporting the response of aquatic biota to suspended sediment are concerned with concentrations, while catchment erosion studies often report sediment delivery as annual loads and yields, making the comparison to documented ecological impacts difficult. Similarly, the European Union Freshwater Fish Directive (FFD) (78/659/EC) stipulates a guideline value of 25mgl which should not be exceeded, with the exception of floods and droughts. In this respect, the significance of suspended sediment in two Irish rivers was assessed using turbidity sensors calibrated for suspended sediment. Sediment yields of 0.07 tonnes (t) hayear and 0.44thayear and annual FFD exceedance frequency of 8.3% and 17.8% were estimated for the two catchments. Contrasts in the frequency of exceedance events between both catchments was observed, yet duration was typically short (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-357
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume468-469
Early online date01 Oct 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2014

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