04 Aug 2022
04 Aug 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Influence of vegetation maintenance on flow and mixing: case study comparing full cut with high-coverage conditions

Monika Barbara Kalinowska1, Kaisa Västilä2, Michael Nones1, Adam Kiczko3, Emilia Karamuz1, Andrzej Brandyk3, Adam Kozioł3, and Marcin Krukowski3 Monika Barbara Kalinowska et al.
  • 1Institute of Geophysics Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
  • 2Aalto University School of Engineering, Espoo, Finland; Freshwater Centre, Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Institute of Environmental Engineering, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Warsaw, Poland

Abstract. In temperate climates, agricultural ditches are generally bounded by seasonal vegetation, which affects the hydrodynamics and mixing processes within the channel and acts as a buffer strip to reduce a load of pollutants coming from the surrounding cultivated fields. However, even if the control of such vegetation represents a key strategy to support sediment and nutrient management, the studies that investigated the effect of different vegetation maintenance scenarios or vegetation coverage on the flow and mixing dynamics at the reach scale are very limited. To overcome these limitations and provide additional insights on the involved processes, tracer tests were conducted in a 500 meters long agricultural ditch close to Warsaw in Poland, focusing on two different vegetation scenarios: highly vegetated and fully cut. Additionally, under the highly vegetated scenario, sub-reaches differing in surficial vegetation coverage are analysed separately to understand better the influence of the vegetation conditions on the flow and mixing parameters. Special attention has been paid to the longitudinal dispersion coefficient in complex natural conditions and its dependency on vegetation coverage (V). The vegetation maintenance decreased the travel and residence times of the solute by 3–5 times, moderately increasing the peak concentrations. We found that the dispersion coefficient decreased approximately linearly with the increase of vegetation coverage at V>68 %. Further research is needed at lower vegetation coverage values and different spatial plant distributions. The obtained longitudinal dispersion coefficient values complement the previously published data, which are barely available for small natural streams. The new process understanding supports the design of future investigations with more environmentally sound vegetation maintenance scenarios.

Monika Barbara Kalinowska et al.

Status: open (until 29 Sep 2022)

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Monika Barbara Kalinowska et al.

Monika Barbara Kalinowska et al.


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Short summary
Vegetation is commonly found in rivers and channels. Using field investigations, we evaluated the influence of different vegetation coverages on the flow and mixing in the small naturally vegetated channel. The obtained results are expected to be helpful for practitioners, enlarge our still limited knowledge, and show the further required scientific directions for a better understanding of the influence of vegetation on the flow and mixing of dissolved substances in real natural conditions.