Research for the Environment

Project Sediment and phosphorus delivery from an agricultural watershed in the Eastern Harz Hills of Germany
Headed by Dr. M. Rode (Department Hydrological Modelling), Prof. Dr. R. Meißner (Department Soil Science)
Personnel Luna Bharati; Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Gerald Wenk Wasserwirtschaft. Hochschule- Magdeburg; Landwirtschaftliche Fakultät Martin-Luther-Universität. Halle-Wittenberg
Time Period 04.00 - 03.03

Brief description:

Research Objectives

The objective of the research project is to investigate the various processes, pathways and forms of sediment and phosphorus delivery from a 144ha. agricultural watershed located in the Harz hills of Germany. The three major research activities consist of

  1. Continuous monitoring of stream discharge and the quantitative measurement of concentrations and loads of suspended sediment and phosphorus.
    • Suspended sediment and the various forms of P (total P, particulate P, dissolved P and soluble reactive P) are being measured in the stream during both high-flow and low-flow periods.
    • By-weekly sampling of tile drains for suspended sediment and phosphorus concentrations are being carried out.

  2. Identification of suspended sediment and phosphorus sources with the use of the fingerprinting technique
    • The radionuclides Cs137 , Pb210 and Total Phosphorus are being used to identify the nature and the spatial location of the major sediment sources operating within the drainage basin.

  3. Application of Computer models
    • The hydrological model WaSim-ETH and the pollutant transport models Erosion-3D and AGNPS (version 5) are being validated using measured field data.

Research Site

The Schafertal watershed is located in the Eastern Harz mountains. The catchment area is 1,44 square kilometres and the average slope is 6.1%. The small creek Schaferbach which drains the watershed is 1755 meters long. 81% of the watershed is intensively cultivated. According to the FAO classification system, the soil is dominated by Eutric Cambisols and Eutric Podzoluvisols and the area bordering the stream consists of Humus gley and Eutric Fluvisols. The average annual rainfall is 635mm. The upper half of the watershed is artificially drained. There are a total of 21 tiles, which lie perpendicular to the stream and terminate at the stream bank. The current drainage system was installed in the mid 1970's.



DAAD-Summer School on "Integrated Water Resources Management", 8.-19.9.2014 in Dessau & Berlin

Recent Publications

Schmidt, C.; Büttner, O.; Musolff, A.; Fleckenstein, J. H. (2014): A method for automated, daily, temperature-based vertical streambed water-fluxes. Fundamental and Applied Limnology Volume 184 Nr. 3 (2014), p. 173 - 181, DOI: 10.1127/1863-9135/2014/0548

Jäger, C. G., T. Vrede, L. Persson and M. Jansson. (2014): Interactions between metazoans, autotrophs, mixotrophs and bacterioplankton in nutrient depleted high DOC environments - a long-term experiment. Freshwater Biology 59:1596-1607

Halbedel, S. & Büttner, O. (2014) MeCa, a toolbox for the calculation of metabolism in heterogeneous streams. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, DOI:

Anis, M.A., and Rode, M. 2014.: A new magnitude-category disaggregation approach for temporal high-resolution rainfall intensities. Hydrological Processes, DOI:10.1002/hyp.10227

Borchardt, D., Richter,S., Völker, J., Anschütz, M., Hentschel,A. u. A. Roßnagel (2014): Arbeitshilfe zur Prüfung von Ausnahmen von den Bewirtschaftungszielen der EG-Wasserrahmenrichtlinie bei physischen Veränderungen von Wasserkörpern nach § 31 Absatz 2 WHG aus wasserfachlicher und rechtlicher Sicht. Umweltbundesamt, Texte 25/2014.