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CatchmentCARE - Sustainable Management of Point & Diffuse Source Pollution

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This webinar outlines the work being carried out to mitigate nutrient loss from point and diffuse sources of phosphorus in the catchments.

About this event

Phosphorus export to waterbodies from catchment land uses poses a significant risk to aquatic resources on the island of Ireland. Point sources include WWTP, septic tanks and farmyards, while diffuse source arises from fields with a high soil P or where organic manure is applied.

This webinar will outline the CatchmentCARE work being carried out to mitigate nutrient loss from point and diffuse sources of phosphorus in the catchments.

“Sustainable Management Options for Point and Diffuse Source Pollution” is one of six webinars organised as part of CatchmentCARE Week that explore integrated approaches to the protection, improvement and sustainable management of our water environment.

“Sustainable Management Options for Point and Diffuse Source Pollution”

Tuesday 18th May 2021

11.00 Welcome from The CatchmentCARE Project - Donnacha Doody (AFBI)

11.05 Introduction from Session Chair, Prof Phil Jordan, Ulster University (UU)11.10 “Farm and field management of phosphorus inputs”, Suzanne Higgins (AFBI)

Dr Higgins will present Farm and field management of phosphorus inputs. This presentation will detail the agronomic plots trials to assess phosphorus requirements of extensive grassland, undertaken as a component of the Catchment Care project, along with the farm-specific advice delivered to farmers.

11.25 “Biological and chemical impacts of rural point sources”, Dr Gabriel Gaffney.

Dr Gabriel Gaffney will provide an overview of the chemical and biological monitoring undertaken upstream and downstream of rural waste-water treatment plants for the CatchmentCARE project. The data generated are phosphorus pressures and biological impact as this relates to benthic algae. CatchmentCARE plans to mitigate these pressures and impacts by diverting effluents to irrigated willow plantations. A baseline dataset will be presented from proposed mitigation sites that includes biological monitoring and chemical sampling once per day, which is increased to 24hour periods.

11:40 “Environmental Solutions to improving water quality using Exploiting Short Rotation Coppice willow”, Chris Johnston (AFBI)

Chris will present how SRC willow can be used to mitigate nutrient loss from diffuse and point sources of nutrient and help achieve the targets of the Water Framework Directive

12.00 Q&A

12.10 Wrap up/ Close Session - Session Chair, Prof Phil Jordan (UU)

Speaker Profiles

Suzanne Higgins (AFBI). Dr Suzanne Higgins is a Soil Scientist and Member of the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists (M.I. Soil Sci.). She has sixteen years’ experience in nutrient management research. Dr Higgins has specific expertise in soil fertility and managing nutrients at farm and field scale, to optimise production but minimise losses to the environment.

Dr Gabriel Gaffney. Dr Gabriel Gaffney has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from UCD and TCD, respectively and completed his PhD at Ulster University in 2019. He previously interned as a lakes Scientific Officer with the EPA (Ireland) and worked as a river Environmental Monitoring Officer for the Environment Agency (UK). Gabriel’s doctoral research investigated the links between land use/hydrological pressures and invertebrate changes in sixty-five high or formerly high-status rivers in the west of Ireland.

His role as Hydroecologist in the CatchmentCARE project is assessing the chemical pressure and biological impact in rivers caused by rural waste-water treatment plants, and river recovery following mitigation.

Chris Johnston (AFBI). Chris Johnston is Principal Scientist and a Project Leader with responsibility for AFBI’s Agri-Environmental Technologies unit which carries out R&D & demonstration of production of bioenergy, the associated recycling of wastes to biomass crops, nutrient management, environmental protection, biomass processing and combustion systems and the resulting emissions. He has over 13 years’ experience in the sector in both a private SME and a public sector capacity. The bulk of his past and current workload is research and the development of proof of concept biofiltration solutions demonstrating the use of biomass willow plantations for the management of waste waters and effluents from varied sources.

About CatchmentCARE

CatchmentCARE (Community Actions for Resilient Eco-systems) is an INTERREG VA EU-funded project which aims to improve freshwater quality in cross-border river basins across three cross-border catchments. This is being done through the development of three water quality improvement projects in the Finn, Blackwater and Arney catchments and the installation of 50 groundwater monitoring stations across the region to better understand groundwater in the cross-border catchments and the interaction between groundwater & surface water bodies.

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