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Wear Rivers Trust and Durham University are working on a new project: Communicating and Visualizing Erosion-Associated Risks to Infrastructure (CAVERTI). We are using the catchment of the Brancepeth Beck in County Durham as a case-study site.

The study area was selected as result of widespread soil erosion and flooding impacts observed following heavy rainfall events in recent years. Figure 2 shows soil being lost from land and flooding of a nearby road at the time of an intense rainfall event in May 2013.

We are inviting stakeholders such as the Wear Rivers Trust volunteers, farmers, land managers and a variety of asset owners in the area to help us collate images of soil erosion and examples of impacts upon land and infrastructure in the study area, and across the catchment of the River Wear (See contact details below).

We are also testing a model developed by Durham University (MAHLERAN-MiC), to simulate the redistribution of soil particles following rainfall; by modelling scenarios for the case-study area, we will produce images showing how soil-erosion risk is likely to be increased or decreased depending on variable factors such as soil condition, vegetation cover (e.g. buffer strips or hedges) and farming practices. 

Fig. 1 Brancepeth Beck catchment, Durham      

Brancepeth Beck catchment area

Fig. 2 Morley Road, flooding June 2013

Morley Road flooding June 2013

Combining the findings of modelling and stakeholder input we will develop a web-based decision support tool for use by the Wear Rivers Trust in their work with land owners, to help communicate and visualise measures that help mitigate the risk of soil erosion. The aim of the tool is to facilitate management decisions that will support sustainable farming; reduce the costly impacts of sedimentation on infrastructure; and help protect and improve the ecological condition of river systems.

To find out about our events or for ways to contribute to the soil erosion research, please contact:

Carolyn Simpson (Research Associate, Durham University)

Email:   Tel: (0191) 3341931


Look out for future events on our web site

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