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NEER131 Testing FARMSCOPER and LESA-NP against lake sediment-inferred phosphorus budgets (NEER131)

Many of the West Midland meres are in a ‘hyper’ eutrophic state due to diffuse and point source pollution from their surrounding hydrological catchments. This is impacting the ecological integrity of the sites & causing failure against site water quality targets. To restore the meres to good ecological condition the source of Phosphorus (P) in the catchment needs to be identified, reduced and removed.

Natural England separately apply two models, LESA-NP and FARMSCOPER; the former to predict the impact of P supply on lake water TP concentrations, and the latter to evaluate the impact farm management decisions have on landscape P exports. However, while FARMSCOPER is well tested at river catchment scale, neither model has been critically tested at lake catchment scale, nor have the two models been linked before.

This report is a proof-of-concept project to test and validate a novel coupled model for estimating phosphorus budgets in the Meres catchments. The project subsequently investigates land use scenarios which would enable a reduction in P loading, to achieve site conservation targets.

The project focuses on three case study sites, identified due to their prior data availability. Current and historic land use data are compiled to drive the models, which is validated against lake sediment records and hydrochemical monitoring data. A number of findings are reported, a series of recommendations and a road map for next steps.

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