Storm even suspended sediment-discharge hysteresis and controls in agricultural watersheds: implications for watershed scale sediment management

Sherriff, Sophie C. and Rowan, John S. and Fenton, Owen and Jordan, Philip and Melland, Alice R. and Mellander, Per-Erik and O'hUallachain, Daire (2016) Storm even suspended sediment-discharge hysteresis and controls in agricultural watersheds: implications for watershed scale sediment management. Environmental Science and Technology, 50 (4). pp. 1769-1778. ISSN 0013-936X

Abstract

Within agricultural watersheds suspended sediment-discharge hysteresis during storm events is commonly used to indicate dominant sediment sources and pathways. However, availability of high-resolution data, qualitative metrics, longevity of records, and simultaneous multiwatershed analyses has limited the efficacy of hysteresis as a sediment management tool. This two year study utilizes a quantitative hysteresis index from high-resolution suspended sediment and discharge data to assess fluctuations in sediment source location, delivery mechanisms and export efficiency in three intensively farmed watersheds during events over time. Flow-weighted event sediment export was further considered using multivariate techniques to delineate rainfall, stream hydrology, and antecedent moisture controls on sediment origins. Watersheds with low permeability (moderately- or poorly drained soils) with good surface hydrological connectivity, therefore, had contrasting hysteresis due to source location (hillslope versus channel bank). The well-drained watershed with reduced connectivity exported less sediment but, when watershed connectivity was established, the largest event sediment load of all watersheds occurred. Event sediment export was elevated in arable watersheds when low groundcover was coupled with high connectivity, whereas in the grassland watershed, export was attributed to wetter weather only. Hysteresis analysis successfully indicated contrasting seasonality, connectivity and source availability and is a useful tool to identify watershed specific sediment management practices.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2016 06:30
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 03:10
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070101 Agricultural Land Management
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9614 Soils > 961402 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Soils
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960608 Rural Water Evaluation (incl. Water Quality)
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b04573
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/28513

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