News Archive: July - December 2012

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  • AUTUMN/WINTER 2012: Poor field conditions due to wet weatherThe last few weeks of 2012 featured a continuation of the wet weather recorded since March and contributed to total annual rainfall of about 825 mm as recorded by the rain gauges in the Blackwater sub-catchment. The saturated ground and storm events made conditions very difficult for the sugar beet harvest. It also set-back the planting of winter wheat and the loss of some fields of autumn-sown oil seed rape.
  • Stream flows fed by agricultural drainage and road runoff in the Wensum DTC experimental area led to the flushing of sediment, phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) with fluxes of N and P about five times greater than in the equivalent autumn period in 2011. A maximum total phosphorus concentration of 1 mg per litre (ten times the water quality standard for the Wensum) was recorded during one storm event at the end of November when sediment-laden, overland flow during the sugar beet harvest had the greatest impact on water quality.
  • The following photographs during the time of this event show how roads act as conduits for field runoff directly into drains that connect with the surface water courses. Future work in the Wensum DTC project will experiment with measures, such as minimum cultivations techniques and in-stream wetland features to reduce the impact of agricultural runoff on water quality.
Field and Road Run off
  • The photos above show (a) shows road and field surface runoff diverted into a drainage ditch, (b) a confluence of sediment-laden drainage water fed by road runoff and clearer water collected from field drainage, and (c) shows the combined effect of road runoff and field drainage as seen at the down-stream monitoring station.
  • NOVEMBER 2012: New Newsletters Read about the completion of the Swanton Morely restoration scheme and the new plans for Sculthorpe Moor in the latest Environment Agency River Wensum Restoration Scheme Newsletter [Click here]. You can also find out about the work of the Broadland Catchment Partnership in their new newsletter [Click here].
  • TUES 17 JULY: Third Annual Wensum DTC Conference: Tom's presentation to the conference The Third Annual Conference was extremely well attended - we may need a bigger venue next year! The level of buzz and the number of questions arising over coffee, lunch and tea showed real interest and enthusiasm for the research and we were pleased that the audience this year included a larger number of people from the farming community. So, the hard work that went into the presentations, posters and project summaries were all well worth the effort. The picture below shows Tom Read presenting his research on identifying flow pathways with fibre-optic sensors. [Click here] to download presentations and the latest related project summaries.

  • THURS 5 JUL: Olympic Torch on the Wensum: The picture (top right) shows the Olympic torch relay leaving Norwich by boat on the River Wensum on Day 48 of its tour of Britain.
Notable events
Olympic torch relay event
The Olympic torch on the river Wensum.
Wensum DTC 3rd Annual Conference
Lively discussion at the 3rd Wensum DTC conference.
Wensum DTC 3rd Annual Conference
The biggest gathering yet of the Wensum Alliance.