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Water 2018, 10(10), 1302; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10101302

Long-Term Suspended Sediment Concentrations and Loads from a Relatively Undisturbed Agroforested Catchment in the Northwest of the Iberian Peninsula

Faculty of Sciences, Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (CICA), University of A Coruna, A Coruña 15071, Spain
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Received: 8 June 2018 / Revised: 23 August 2018 / Accepted: 19 September 2018 / Published: 21 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Watershed Hydrology, Erosion and Sediment Transport Processes)
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Abstract

The suspended sediment dynamics in small catchments are difficult to estimate accurately because they result from the coupling of complex processes occurring at different scales. In this study, the dynamics of suspended sediment concentrations (SSC) and loads were assessed in an agroforested humid catchment in NW Spain, based on a long-term rainfall, discharge and suspended sediment dataset (12 hydrological years) from high-frequency monitoring. The results highlight the episodic nature of sediment transport in the study area, given that about 78% of SS was exported over 10% of the study period. The SS transport was related to runoff generation and flooding, although sediment availability also played an important role in SS transport. The SS load was mainly driven by high-magnitude rainfall events, while intense rainfall episodes generated high SSC peaks. The mean annual suspended sediment yield was relatively low from a quantitative stand point (10 Mg km−2 y−1); however, during 11% of the monitoring, SS concentrations exceeding the threshold threatened surface water quality (Freshwater Fish Directive 78/659/EEC and Directive 75/440/EEC), mainly during runoff events, indicating the need to adopt management practices in order to reduce or mitigate sediment loss during such episodes. View Full-Text
Keywords: suspended sediment dynamics; runoff events; sediment source; hydrology; agroforested catchment suspended sediment dynamics; runoff events; sediment source; hydrology; agroforested catchment
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Rodríguez-Blanco, M.L.; Taboada-Castro, M.M.; Taboada-Castro, M.T. Long-Term Suspended Sediment Concentrations and Loads from a Relatively Undisturbed Agroforested Catchment in the Northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Water 2018, 10, 1302.

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