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Hydrological factors behind the water quality changes due to restoration in boreal peatlands

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Abstract

Recovery of hydrological conditions after restoration in previously drained peatlands is typically faster process compared to changes in runoff water quality. Often nutrient load from restored sites increase remarkably during restoration operation and reduce over time when conditions stabilize. However, in some sites nutrient load can remain high for long periods of time which increase negative effects of restoration on downstream water bodies. The factors and challenges behind these processes are poorly understood in practical catchment restoration planning. This study aims to understand factors affecting water quality changes after peatland restoration. Totally 43 peatlands areas of which 24 sites were previously drained and restored during the study and 19 sites at their pristine stage (control sites) were included to the study. The control pristine sites had as little anthropogenic disturbances as possible and the sites were chosen so that the paired study sites closely share similar peatland type, nutrient status and weather conditions. Pore water quality (total phosphorus, total nitrogen, dissolved organic carbon , pH, electric conductivity and colour) was measured from all sites and runoff quality and amount from 7 sites in the years 2008-2014. Measured parameters, different peatland types and nutrient loads were studied together with numerous hydrological parameters (variation in water table fluctuations, peat pore water recharge coefficient, physical parameters of peat e.g. specific yield, degree of humification) by statistical methods. Differences in water table dependent hydrological conditions indicate e.g. flow paths and residence time of water that is known to have effect on runoff water quality. As a result, water table related hydrological changes following restoration are as well assumed to explain alterations in water quality in different peatland types. In addition, using water table related hydrological processes as a proxy for water quality analysis reduces cost as water quality analysis is more costly than continuous measurement of water table. This presentation gives preliminary results from this extensive dataset.
Geophysical Research Abstracts
Vol. 18, EGU2016-14551, 2016
EGU General Assembly 2016
© Author(s) 2016. CC Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrological factors behind the water quality changes due to restoration
in boreal peatlands
Anna-Kaisa Ronkanen (1), Hannu Marttila (1), Meseret Walle Menberu (1), Masoud Irannezhad (1), Teemu
Tahvanainen (2), Jouni Penttinen (3), Reijo Hokkanen (), and Björn Klöve (1)
(1) University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland (anna-kaisa.ronkanen@oulu.fi), (2) Department of Biology, University of Eastern
Finland, (3) Parks & Wildlife Finland (Metsähallitus)
Recovery of hydrological conditions after restoration in previously drained peatlands is typically faster process
compared to changes in runoff water quality. Often nutrient load from restored sites increase remarkably during
restoration operation and reduce over time when conditions stabilize. However, in some sites nutrient load can
remain high for long periods of time which increase negative effects of restoration on downstream water bod-
ies. The factors and challenges behind these processes are poorly understood in practical catchment restoration
planning. This study aims to understand factors affecting water quality changes after peatland restoration. Totally
43 peatlands areas of which 24 sites were previously drained and restored during the study and 19 sites at their
pristine stage (control sites) were included to the study. The control pristine sites had as little anthropogenic dis-
turbances as possible and the sites were chosen so that the paired study sites closely share similar peatland type,
nutrient status and weather conditions. Pore water quality (total phosphorus, total nitrogen, dissolved organic car-
bon, pH, electric conductivity and colour) was measured from all sites and runoff quality and amount from 7 sites
in the years 2008-2014. Measured parameters, different peatland types and nutrient loads were studied together
with numerous hydrological parameters (variation in water table fluctuations, peat pore water recharge coefficient,
physical parameters of peat e.g. specific yield, degree of humification) by statistical methods. Differences in wa-
ter table dependent hydrological conditions indicate e.g. flow paths and residence time of water that is known to
have effect on runoff water quality. As a result, water table related hydrological changes following restoration are
as well assumed to explain alterations in water quality in different peatland types. In addition, using water table
related hydrological processes as a proxy for water quality analysis reduces cost as water quality analysis is more
costly than continuous measurement of water table. This presentation gives preliminary results from this extensive
dataset.
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