We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Use of spatially distributed time-integrated sediment sampling networks and distributed fine sediment modelling to inform catchment management.

Perks, M.T. and Warburton, J. and Bracken, L.J. and Reaney, S.M. and Emery, S.B. and Hirst, S. (2017) 'Use of spatially distributed time-integrated sediment sampling networks and distributed fine sediment modelling to inform catchment management.', Journal of environmental management., 202 . pp. 469-478.


Under the EU Water Framework Directive, suspended sediment is omitted from environmental quality standards and compliance targets. This omission is partly explained by difficulties in assessing the complex dose-response of ecological communities. But equally, it is hindered by a lack of spatially distributed estimates of suspended sediment variability across catchments. In this paper, we demonstrate the inability of traditional, discrete sampling campaigns for assessing exposure to fine sediment. Sampling frequencies based on Environmental Quality Standard protocols, whilst reflecting typical manual sampling constraints, are unable to determine the magnitude of sediment exposure with an acceptable level of precision. Deviations from actual concentrations range between −35 and +20% based on the interquartile range of simulations. As an alternative, we assess the value of low-cost, suspended sediment sampling networks for quantifying suspended sediment transfer (SST). In this study of the 362 km2 upland Esk catchment we observe that spatial patterns of sediment flux are consistent over the two year monitoring period across a network of 17 monitoring sites. This enables the key contributing sub-catchments of Butter Beck (SST: 1141 t km2 yr−1) and Glaisdale Beck (SST: 841 t km2 yr−1) to be identified. The time-integrated samplers offer a feasible alternative to traditional infrequent and discrete sampling approaches for assessing spatio-temporal changes in contamination. In conjunction with a spatially distributed diffuse pollution model (SCIMAP), time-integrated sediment sampling is an effective means of identifying critical sediment source areas in the catchment, which can better inform sediment management strategies for pollution prevention and control.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2017 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:19 January 2017
Date deposited:12 September 2017
Date of first online publication:06 February 2017
Date first made open access:06 February 2018

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar