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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Catchment-Scale Analysis Reveals High Cost-Effectiveness of Wetland Buffer Zones as a Remedy to Non-Point Nutrient Pollution in North-Eastern Poland

1
Department of Plant Ecology and Environmental Conservation, Faculty of Biology, Biological and Chemical Research Centre, University of Warsaw, ul. Żwirki i Wigury 101, 02-089 Warsaw, Poland
2
Department of Hydrology, Meteorology and Water Management, Institute of Environmental Engineering, Warsaw University of Life Sciences—SGGW, ul. Nowoursynowska 166, 02-787 Warsaw, Poland
3
Chemical Analytics and Biogeochemistry, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries Berlin (IGB), Müggelseedamm 301, 12587 Berlin, Germany
4
Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Vejlsøvej 25, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
5
Institute for Ecosystem Research, Christian Albrechts Universität Kiel, Olshausenstrasse 75, 24118 Kiel, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(3), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030629
Received: 24 January 2020 / Revised: 15 February 2020 / Accepted: 21 February 2020 / Published: 26 February 2020
Large-scale re-establishment of wetland buffer zones (WBZ) along rivers is regarded as an effective measure in order to reduce non-point source nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) pollution in agricultural catchments. We estimated efficiency and costs of a hypothetical establishment of WBZs along all watercourses in an agricultural landscape of the lower Narew River catchment (north-eastern Poland, 16,444 km2, amounting to 5% of Poland) by upscaling results obtained in five sub-catchments (1087 km2). Two scenarios were analysed, with either rewetting selected wetland polygons that collect water from larger areas (polygonal WBZs) or reshaping and rewetting banks of rivers (linear WBZs), both considered in all ecologically suitable locations along rivers. Cost calculation included engineering works necessary in order to establish WBZs, costs of land purchase where relevant, and compensation costs of income forgone to farmers (needed only for polygonal WBZs). Polygonal WBZs were estimated in order to remove 11%–30% N and 14%–42% P load from the catchment, whereas linear WBZs were even higher with 33%–82% N and 41%–87% P. Upscaled costs of WBZ establishment for the study area were found to be 8.9 M EUR plus 26.4 M EUR per year (polygonal WBZ scenario) or 170.8 M EUR (linear WBZ scenario). The latter value compares to costs of building about 20 km of an express road. Implementation of buffer zones on a larger scale is thus a question of setting policy priorities rather than financial impossibility. View Full-Text
Keywords: wetland buffer zones; eutrophication; hydrological modelling; Narew River; cost calculation wetland buffer zones; eutrophication; hydrological modelling; Narew River; cost calculation
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Jabłońska, E.; Wiśniewska, M.; Marcinkowski, P.; Grygoruk, M.; Walton, C.R.; Zak, D.; Hoffmann, C.C.; Larsen, S.E.; Trepel, M.; Kotowski, W. Catchment-Scale Analysis Reveals High Cost-Effectiveness of Wetland Buffer Zones as a Remedy to Non-Point Nutrient Pollution in North-Eastern Poland. Water 2020, 12, 629.

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