Establishment of a reedbed within a created surface water fed wetland nature reserve
In the early 1990's, outline designs for two wetland nature reserves were being prepared: the Teeside International Nature Reserve (TINR) and the Cardiff Bay Barrage Environmental Compensation Measures at Redwick, Gwent. The initial design for both proposals identified reedbed as a desirable habitat for establishment. The initial design works identified the importance of reedbed evapotranspiration [ET(Reed)] within the water budget, however, literature searches identified a paucity of information on this parameter. Field experiments for the measurement of ET(Reed) from Phragmites australis are described for three sites distributed across England and Wales. Reference Crop Evapotranspiration (ETo) was calculated using techniques recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organisation. A technique for the calculation of a reedbed crop coefficient [Kc(Reed)[, from ET(Reed) and ETo data is discussed. Kc(Reed) values produced in the project were found to be similar to those developed previously in continental Europe. Mean monthly and crop development stage Kc(Reed) values are presented which are applicable in the UK and possibly worldwide. A conceptual hydrological model of surface water fed reedbed systems is developed, and used to calculate the hydrological sustainability of reedbed creation areas in the UK. Finally, the water budget model is verified using data from a small clay catchment located on the TINR. In addition, a methodology is developed for the hydrological design of surface water fed reedbed systems, and recommendations required for the feasibility, design and establishment stage of reedbed creation sites. Further research needs are also identified.