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Assessing the (current and future) resource protection benefits of AE through water quality monitoring - LM0439

Existing environmental land management schemes (Environmental Stewardship (ES) and Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF)) and the successor scheme (currently in development) all have an overarching objective to contribute to water quality improvement.
In developing the New Environmental Land Management Scheme (NELMS –current working title) delivery of improvements for water is a key objective. Natural England and partner organisations have developed a range of new options, capital items and targeting to help improve delivery for water quality, and flood risk management. The monitoring of agri-environment outcomes for water quality forms part of the revised RDP requirements.

Through monitoring and evaluation for the CSF Project, effective methods have been developed and applied to demonstrate the benefits of CSF for water quality based on monitoring data for both water chemistry and ecology. A modelled assessment of water chemistry (excluding pesticides) improvements has also been undertaken

Water quality improvements delivered through the Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) scheme have been estimated through modelling (Boatman et al., 2008) as well as farmer interviews (Natural England, 2013) but there has been no assessment of Environmental Stewardship (ES) based on water quality monitoring data.
• The development and implementation of a project that will further our understanding on agri-environment delivery and the effects on water quality (both water chemistry and ecology). The objectives for this project are to:-
o Identify appropriate experimental designs for assessments of the specific water quality outcomes (waterbody, catchment and nationally) that have been delivered by the Environmental Stewardship scheme based on monitoring data for both water chemistry and ecology based on existing Environment Agency (EA) monitoring networks / data for both water chemistry and ecology, and where possible/beneficial supplementary water quality data or wider research data.
o Provide assessments of the water quality benefits from ES, using the experimental designs identified under objective 1, for both water chemistry and ecology.
o Identify appropriate assessments of the specific water quality outcomes (including any particularly relevant to SSSI waterbodies) expected to be delivered through NELMS to inform development of ‘complementary impact indicators’ that will contribute to assessing progress, efficiency and effectiveness of the new Rural Development Programme (RDP). Suggest a long-term monitoring programme, that could be used as part of the monitoring and evaluation strategy, as part of a wider indicator framework to be defined under the RDP Monitoring & Evaluation Strategy (Defra, 2014).
Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : LM0439 Assessing the resource protection benefits of AE through water quality monitoring Final Report   (1934k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : LM0439 AES benefits through water quality monitoring 2 page summary   (324k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2014

To: 2015

Cost: £112,746
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Centre For Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)
Agriculture and Water Quality              
Resource Protection              
Water Quality