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Demonstration Test Catchments: Catchment scale testing of measures to mitigate diffuse agricultural pollution on the Eden - WQ0210

This is an exciting challenge that responds to a competition specification from Defra to establish infrastructure for a multi-organisation consortia to undertake research and monitoring activities on diffuse pollution in the River Eden in Cumbria. This project plan describes a team approach to provision of the platform for core monitoring and potential research activities that will contribute to the wider Demonstration Test Catchments (DTC) network (where other catchments, the Hampshire Avon and the Wensum, are involved).

Here we will provide and develop the framework for the provision of the other later activities. To do this we provide expertise in a wide range of discipline areas. Our DTC project will cover, according to Defra’s specification, multiple diffuse pollutants including (but not exhaustively) nitrates, phosphorus, sediment, faecal indicator organisms, dissolved organic carbon and ammonium. There is a requirement for cohesion and clear lines of governance, roles and responsibilities, tempered with the need for creativity and an ‘open door’ to collaboration with the wider world.

To achieve this, we have assembled all key players linked to the River Eden catchment and located their organisations. This shows that at the heart of the consortium are the local ‘in catchment’ host partners: the Eden Rivers Trust and the University of Cumbria. Excitingly, we will establish the Eden DTC Central Information Office at Newton Rigg that will be used as the base site for researchers working within the DTC project and analytical equipment that will be housed securely on the universities farm, ready for implementation in the field throughout the Eden DTC.

This space will fulfil a variety of purposes including office space, teaching and workshops, a meeting and reception room, an information centre for engagement and demonstration purposes, and long-term, as a centre of excellence for farm practice. International research representation from Durham, Newcastle and Lancaster Universities and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology at Lancaster will combine to make up the Eden DTC Delivery team. Supporting contributions from the British Geological Survey and Aberystwyth University strengthen our catchment characterisation capability. Wider representations in the guise of Strategic Partners come from (among many) the Irish Mini Catchments Programme, Rothamsted/North Wyke Research, the Catchment Science Centre at Sheffield, Google, and consultancy firms. There is potential for others to join the team and influence the Eden DTC initiative through our ‘work shopping and feedback’ activities and all of the Eden DTC Delivery Team host organisations accommodate a diverse range of interested natural and social scientists, beyond those immediately linked to the Modules and Work Packages detailed in this proposal.
The overall aim of this project is to provide a platform to support the Defra Demonstration Test Catchment initiative for the Eden catchment and to provide the infrastructure from which an evidence base could be assembled to test the hypothesis set by Defra. The hypothesis is: it is possible to cost effectively reduce the impact of agricultural diffuse pollution on ecological function while maintaining food security through implementation of multiple on-farm measures.

The proposed programme of work will be structured into three workpackages that accommodate 11 modules in total, as detailed in Section 7 (c). The overall aim will be delivered through a series of timebound objectives that are listed below and contribute to milestones indicated in Section 8. Each module comprises an approach designed to meet the objectives specified within that module. Module 1 will use approach 1, to meet objectives 1.1........1.n, module 2 will use approach 2, to meet objectives 2.1........2.n, and so on. Realisation of objectives will be reported within annual interim reports to Defra, a final report to Defra and via regular updates posted on the project website.

1.1 Finalise contracts and subcontracts agreements (1 April 2010);
1.2 To lead, inspire and establish a functioning and communicating consortium (1 April 2010 and throughout);
1.3 To oversee the recruitment and appointment of staff (Ongoing, 1 April 2010);
1.4 To assemble a management board and governance lines within the team and report to the national Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC) committee (1 April 2010);
1.5 To organize annual national/international workshopping and feedback meetings at the Eden Demonstration Centre (January 2010 and annually thereafter);
1.6 To act as consortium interface with national and international scientists (Throughout, and via hosting of two international workshops in September 2011 and December 2013);
1.7 To report interim and final reports to Defra (1 Dec 2010 and annually thereafter);
2.1 To engage, inspire, deliver and maintain a network of participating farms within the chosen demonstration sub-catchments (Throughout);
2.2 To raise awareness of the Demonstration Test Catchments project with landowners, farmers and local stakeholders within the Eden sub-catchments, gain local support for the project and identify farms willing to work with the consortium (Sept 2010 – it is anticipated that sub-catchments will be established in turn as a rolling programme starting with the University of Cumbria site);
2.3 To negotiate access agreements establishing the monitoring network, collecting samples and providing information on current practices (Inception until December 2010);
3.1 To provide a host site for the Eden DTC catchment – providing office and meeting space for the research consortium; access to the Sewborwens demonstration farm and facilitating knowledge transfer between the research consortium, the general public, educational establishments and other research groups (Project initiation and ongoing throughout 5 year period);
3.2 To launch the Eden Catchment Demonstration Centre (1 March 2011);
4.1 To establish appropriate data management structure in liaison with Defra/EA and contractors (1 April 2011, and maintain throughout 5 year period);
5.1 To develop a conceptual model of the Eden catchment in its current form that characterises catchment pollution sources, mobilisation processes and flow pathways and builds on existing synthesis (June 2010);
6.1 To capture the management and changing physical characteristics of the sub-catchments during the project (ongoing throughout the project);
7.1 To create a research platform for relevant water quantity and quality parameters for the river Eden with a focus on four subcatchments and derived data being available to the DTC project and all who wish to use it (1 Dec 2010);
8.1 To measure all the parameters as listed by the DTC call that represent key pressures in identified subcatchments (initiated by December 2010, then throughout 5 year period);
8.2 To install trusted, robust equipment that gives permanent continuous and flow weighted data sets for each Demonstration subcatchment (1 December 2010);
8.3 To use mobile (responsive) equipment to support one-off activities and future localised mitigation interventions at ‘responsive’ sites. (1 December 2010);
9.1 To establish an analytical performance framework which includes robust data quality assurance and quality control system across the DTC (timeframe 1 Dec 2010 onwards);
10.1 To finalise the selection of monitoring sites for groundwater monitoring stations (1 June 2010);
10.2 To complete installation of groundwater monitoring stations (budget and negotiations permitted) (1 Jan 2011);
11.1 To collect sufficient baseline data (allowable by the budget) for ecological indicators to enable changes due to mitigation measures to be robustly identified (1 Sept 2011);
11.2 To undertake coordinated monitoring (where relevant) of multiple biological groups at individual monitoring stations (ongoing activity).

Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : DTC Phase1 report   (13431k)
• ROAME Document : WQ01   (200k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2009

To: 2015

Cost: £2,462,231
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Lancaster
Diffuse Pollution              
Environmental Protection              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Water Pollution              
Water Quality