Agricultural best management practices and their effects on sediment transport curves for improved watershed health

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Stang, Conrad
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University of Guelph

Eutrophic conditions caused Severn Sound to be listed as an Area of Concern in the 1980’s, it was then delisted in 2002 after implementing a number of agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs). The focus of this research is to evaluate BMP effectiveness on a watershed scale using both monitoring and modelling. The monitoring data clearly shows that the BMPs significantly reduced the sediment loadings. It also showed that BMPs affect only the intercept and not the slope of the sediment rating curves meaning that BMPs reduce sediment loadings in a linear fashion and at a constant percentage for all sizes of storms. The literature review and associated BMP reduction factors used to model the applied BMPs clearly show that observed and predicted reductions in sediment were experienced and that the model is validated for use on a watershed scale for BMP implementation. The results from this research will further the understanding of how sediment transport curves are affected by Best Management Practices.

Chapter 1 defines the problem and scope of the research study to be examined in this thesis. The literature review presents the current state of knowledge related to the effectiveness of BMPs, sampling techniques, and the use of sediment transport curves, and watershed modelling as a tool to evaluate the use of BMPs. Chapter 3 explains the goals and objectives as well as the study area for this research. Outlined in Chapter 4 are the standard methods used for water quality monitoring and setting-up and calibrating a watershed model. Research results are presented in Chapter 5 and include measured streamflow and water quality results for the respective rivers along with results from watershed modelling. The results section also reflects on the implications for BMP effectiveness and areas of future research. Chapter 6 concludes with a summary of the new information gained from this research and the success of Severn Sound in leading the way in improved use of BMPs for a healthier watershed.
Best Management Practices, BMPs, Severn Sound, Watershed Modelling