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An Earth Systems Engineering Approach to the Direct Management of Runoff Flow Paths and Nutrient Remediation at Source

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Paul Quinn, Dr Caspar HewettORCiD


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Rural land use and management is a well studied subject, however there is a need for tools that will support policy making, that will empower local experts and educate farmers towards sustainable farming activity. Earth Systems Engineering and Management is a new approach that accepts that the Earth is already highly engineered and that there are a range of proactive interventions that can take place within the landscape that can create an environment that benefits everyone. Here, two recently developed tools are used to visualise and prioritise the opportunities we have to both understand the sources of nutrient enriched runoff and also control runoff flow pats. Strategic locations within the landscape afford us many opportunities to target and remediate flows under varying conditions. Hence, a high resolution terrain analysis toolkit is presented, TopManage, that can highlight likely runoff flow paths, the operation of Critical Source Areas and depict the potential locations to control nutrient runoff loss whilst maintaining the economic viability of the farmer. Equally, a policy tool is presented that integrates many hydrologic/agronomic/policy factors into a clear problem solving framework. Thus, a Decision Support Matrix is presented that allows both farmers and policy makers to visualise and prioritise strategies to reduce nutrient pollution through proactive land management.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Quinn PF, Hewett CJM

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Unknown

Conference Name: 7th International Specialised Conference on Diffuse Pollution and Basin Management

Year of Conference: 2003