Research and analysis

Phosphorus cycling in rivers

Development of a decision support tool to help screen rivers for sediment-bound phosphorus being released in to river water.

Documents

Phosphorus cycling in rivers: summary

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Phosphorus cycling in rivers: report

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Detail

This research describes the development of a decision support tool to help screen rivers in England for the likelihood and extent of sediment-bound phosphorus being released back to the river water.

Soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) is one of the parameters used to determine the ecological status of a river. The impact of high concentrations of SRP in rivers includes a shift in the composition and abundance of plant species present, which has an impact on the river’s overall ecology. This is one of the most significant causes of water bodies such as rivers not achieving good ecological status under the Water Framework Directive.

The screening tool described in this report will help the Environment Agency and its partners to target resources and identify measures to reduce phosphorus levels in rivers to meet water quality standards.