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Newport Forest Clearfelling Study

Project title: HYDROFOR
Principal investigator: Dr. Mark G. Healy

HYDROFOR is a STRIVE-funded project combining researchers from UCD, UCC and NUI Galway. The NUI Galway component of the work is based in Newport, Co. Mayo.

Project aims and brief background
The HYDROFOR project aims to compare nutrient and sediment release from forest clearfelling operations. Two sites are being examined: (1) in Glenamong, sediment and nutrient release from two 8-ha sites (a study site and a control site) are being examined; (2) in Altahoney (Altahoney), the effectiveness of naturally revegetated riparian buffer zones - clearfelled in 2006 – in mitigating the particulate and nutrient releases from forest harvesting activities upslope that are due to take place in January/February, 2011 are also being investigated.

Research Plan
Work in the Glenamong micro-catchment of the Burrishoole forest is currently being conducted by NUI Galway. A number of baseline and storm events sites have been monitored in the Glenamong study and control site. Each site is fully instrumented with a H-Flume for measuring the flow and a data-sonde for measuring pH, temperature, conductivity and dissolved oxygen. Clearfelling of the 8-ha study site is due to take place in January/February, 2011. In January/February 2011, approximately 2 ha of forest in Altahoney will also be clearfelled. A buffer zone - clearfelled in 2006 – is in place to capture nutrients and sediment from the clearfelled site. The site is reasonably well vegetated and is instrumented with piezometers to monitor water table changes and sampling tubes to enable subsurface water samples to be collected and analysed. Each sampling location comprises a set of 3 sampling tubes, positioned at 20 cm, 50 cm and 100 cm-depths below the surface. Weekly water samples are collected at these points. The site is also instrumented with time domain reflectrometry (TDR) probes to measure soil water content and collection chambers for greenhouse gas measurements. 

Site instrumentation at the Altaconey site

DRP concentration in µg/l at 50 cm depth obtained by the IDW analysis

Mobile Remote and Monitoring Control System (MRMC)

The MRMC is a unique piece of infrastructure enabling remote monitoring of a variety of water, wastewater and aquatic environments. The MRMC was jointly funded by the EPA and NUI Galway. The system can (i) be moved to any location, (ii) operate on mains power or using an on board generator, (iii) operate autonomously and (iv) can provide real time data on the environment it is measuring.

Some of the main features of the MRMC include:

  • On-site measurement of water, wastewater & gaseous parameters
  • Measured parameters include
    • WATER
      • COD, NH4-N, NO3-N, PO4-P, SS, pH, DO, ORP, temperature, flow
    • GAS
      • NH3, CH4, CO2, H2S, N2O
  • Remote interrogation of logged data
  • Equipment storage, sink, workbench, upgrade capability
  • Powered by generator on remote sites
  • Available for research and commercial use
  • Potential users include Local Authorities, Enforcement Agencies & Industry

Odour and Gas Laboratory

The recently installed odour and gas research laboratory is a temperature controlled room that can house experimental odour and gas remediation technologies. The laboratory includes external storage for 5 gases (currently H2S, CH4, N2O, CO2 and N2O) and appropriate alarm and control systems.