Let’s talk nitrogen pollution

Photocredit: F. lamiot [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons
An iCASP workshop aims to kick start an integrated catchment approach to reducing nitrogen pollution from farming. Most excess nitrogen comes from agricultural practices such as using nitrogenous fertilisers or slurry on fields. Too much nitrogen in the environment is harmful to water and air quality and therefore human health. However, most efforts to reduce it focus on a single impact or activity.

Now, iCASP is planning a knowledge exchange opportunity to bring together researchers into different aspects of nitrogen pollution, Defra teams, regulatory agencies and Yorkshire farmers. The aim will be to develop a project in which all perspectives will be heard and respected  and that will develop more effective strategies for preventing nitrogen pollution.

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Weather Show

Following his presentation at the launch of the UK Climate Projections (UKCP18) in November, iCASP’s Ben Rabb, was interviewed on Radio Leeds for the the regional Paul Hudson Weather Show.

Ben was able to explain how different types of flooding: coastal, fluvial (from rivers) and surface water caused by heavy rainfall are more likely to strike low lying areas such as Hull.

He also touched on the current drought that Yorkshire Water has declared and reminded residents of York and Leeds of all the flood alleviation work that is aiming to protect homes and businesses.

You can hear Ben on the online BBC Weather Show catch-up page at 31′ 27″ into the show.

Defining a Future for Yorkshire Farming

The iCASP Public Goods Project has produced some resources which will be showcased at the Defining a Future for Yorkshire Farming today (Nov 15th 2018).

The one day conference hosted by the Yorkshire Food farming and Rural Network is expecting Secretary of State, Michael Gove, to attend as keynote speaker.

The National Farmers’ Union, one of iCASP’s partners, have been taking a keen interest in the publications which are based on a rapid review of the academic evidence for agricultural land management options linked to improving soil health.

Healthy soil can help to mitigate flood risk, increase crop productivity and store more carbon. These benefits are becoming known as public goods and their delivery is key to the new Environmental Land Management Scheme which Defra is developing.

The evidence that iCASP reviewed found that conservation tillage, the addition of organic amendments, introduction of grass-clover leys into arable rotations, and conversion of arable land to woodland can all enhance soil health. If you want to find out more, the publications are available on the iCASP Public Goods Resources page.

 

 

Turning Yorkshire Green Blue

Green walls and water feature to enhance property value

A new iCASP partnership is forming to dissolve the barriers which prevent investment in natural landscaping in urban areas. Natural landscape features such as ponds, rows of trees, roofs or walls planted with greenery are just a few common examples of what is described as Green Blue Infrastructure (GBI).

In spite of its benefits, which include natural cooling, improving air quality, providing wildlife habitats and making urban areas more attractive, planners struggle to make a persuasive business case for GBI investment.

Now a strong multi-disciplinary team in partnership with stakeholders in Leeds City region and West Yorkshire are determined to lead the way in improving cost-benefit analysis and valuation of Green Blue Infrastructure. They want to bring HM Treasury on board too!

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Prioritising Natural Flood Management interventions in Calderdale

Photo Courtesy: Slow the Flow

A rainfall-runoff model developed at the University of Leeds is the latest weapon in Calderdale’s efforts to prevent future flooding in the valley. SD-TOPMODEL is currently the only tool able to model the flow of water from hillslopes to the river at a sufficient spatial scale to allow Natural Flood Management (NFM) interventions and land management to be represented accurately for the characteristics of the Calderdale catchment.

An iCASP project using SD-TOPMODEL and starting in November 2018 will contribute to the Calderdale Flood Action Plan by helping to prioritise the siting of future NFM schemes.

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UKCP18 Regional Forum

Building on the success of the iCASP UKCP18 Demonstrator Project, this forum will bring together people from different sectors of the regional economy. The one day event to be held in 2019 will be designed for organisations who need to use UK climate projections for resilience planning and long-term business strategies.

The forum will use the release of UK Climate Projections 18 (UKCP18) data products and accompanying guidance documentation in November 2018 and May 2019 as an opportunity to ensure that the latest knowledge is embedded in catchment management decisions.

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Better land management for a multifunctional landscape

Credit: DCRT

The latest iCASP Project will help advise the Don Catchment Rivers Trust on their Hidden Heritage Secret Streams project. This is based on the Upper Rother Catchment, a tributary of the River Don. One of the aims of the project is to improve the way land is managed so that it provides both social and heritage benefits.

Volunteers will be recruited to put in place small and simple changes to reduce river pollution from different sources, slow the rate at which water flows down the river, and make it easier for different species to flourish by ensuring suitable habitats are connected up in the landscape.

At the moment, it’s difficult to prioritise what should be done because there isn’t enough available information on the different options and whether they can be carried out by volunteers. This is where iCASP can add most value.

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Eyeing up our rivers

Photo courtesy: Sheila Palmer, University of Leeds

The latest iCASP Project, The Derwent Data Finder, will  explore whether a collaborative monitoring system could help the Environment Agency to reduce costs and to gather more information. The Environment Agency currently spends 60 million pounds a year gathering information on the state of the water environment to meet regulatory requirements.

However, many other organisations, including iCASP partners and universities, also collect relevant data which if shared might fill existing knowledge gaps and prevent duplication.

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Managing land more beneficially

Photo Credit: Les Firbank

Leaving the EU gives the UK an opportunity to rethink farm subsidies. The government is currently exploring how to incentivise farmers and land owners to improve water quality, soil health  and flood protection. This is where iCASP can help. The Agri-Land Management for Public Goods Delivery Project is going to review and consolidate the evidence on land management interventions which generate a wide range of public goods.

The Review will focus on a selection of land management activities currently undertaken in the River Ouse drainage basin area of Yorkshire, including those supported through Countryside Stewardship.

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Also good that @NERCscience funded programmes can deliver useful outcomes globally and locally. twitter.com/YorkshireiCASP…

And if you think this might help you to make the case for water efficiency standards, you can download the brief fr… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…