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Predictive modelling of the creation and hydrological behaviour of waterfowl habitats resulting from sand and gravel extraction

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Catherine Gandy, Professor Paul Younger


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The working of floodplain sand and gravel deposits often results in the creation of pit lakes, typically containing good quality water which may be used for recreational purposes, municipal / industrial water supplies or (less commonly) deliberately developed as valuable habitat for wildfowl. In the past, pit lake creation has proceeded on an entirely ‘accidental’ basis, with the final forms of ponds and wetlands arising simply from the exigencies of gravel-winning. In a planned development in northern England, in contrast, the final form of pit lakes and wetlands has been deliberately planned a priori with avian ecology in mind. In order to advance these plans to detailed designs, substantial quantities of piezometric data have been gathered, and groundwater flow models constructed, in order to characterize the present hydrological functioning of the pristine floodplain, and predict the likely comportment of future pit lakes. It is concluded that a priori planning of habitat creation by means of sand and gravel winning is not only feasible but environmentally desirable, as it helps to redress the drastic loss of wetland habitats which has occurred in much of Europe over the last century.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gandy CJ, Younger PL, Allison P

Editor(s): Loredo J; Pendas F

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Proceedings of the 9th International Mine Water Association Congress

Year of Conference: 2005

Number of Volumes: 1

Pages: 475-479

Publisher: IMWA: the International Mine Water Association