Effects of peatland drainage management on peak flows

Ballard, C. E., McIntyre, N. and Wheater, H. S. (2012) Effects of peatland drainage management on peak flows. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 16 7: 2299-2310. doi:10.5194/hess-16-2299-2012

Author Ballard, C. E.
McIntyre, N.
Wheater, H. S.
Title Effects of peatland drainage management on peak flows
Journal name Hydrology and Earth System Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1027-5606
Publication date 2012-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.5194/hess-16-2299-2012
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 16
Issue 7
Start page 2299
End page 2310
Total pages 12
Place of publication Goettingen, Germany
Publisher Copernicus GmbH
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
 Open ditch drainage has historically been a common land management practice in upland blanket peats, particularly in the UK. However, peatland drainage is now generally considered to have adverse effects on the upland environment, including increased peak flows. As a result, drain blocking has become a common management strategy in the UK over recent years, although there is only anecdotal evidence to suggest that this might decrease peak flows. The change in the hydrological regime associated with the drainage of blanket peat and the subsequent blocking of drains is poorly understood, therefore a new physics-based model has been developed that allows the exploration of the associated hydrological processes. A series of simulations is used to explore the response of intact, drained and blocked drain sites at field scales. While drainage is generally found to increase peak flows, the effect of drain blocking appears to be dependent on local conditions, sometimes decreasing and sometimes increasing peak flows. Based on insights from these simulations we identify steep smooth drains as those that would experience the greatest reduction in field-scale peak flows if blocked and recommend that future targeted field studies should be focused on examining surface runoff characteristics.
Keyword Organic Carbon Loss
Upland Peatlands
Blanket Peat
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry
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