Modeling sediment transport after ditch network maintenance of a forested peatland

K. Haahti*, H. Marttila, L. Warsta, T. Kokkonen, L. Finér, H. Koivusalo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Elevated suspended sediment (SS) loads released from peatlands after drainage operations and the resulting negative effect on the ecological status of the receiving water bodies have been widely recognized. Understanding the processes controlling erosion and sediment transport within the ditch network forms a prerequisite for adequate sediment control. While numerous experimental studies have been reported in this field, model based assessments are rare. This study presents a modeling approach to investigate sediment transport in a peatland ditch network. The transport model describes bed erosion, rain-induced bank erosion, floc deposition, and consolidation of the bed. Coupled to a distributed hydrological model, sediment transport was simulated in a 5.2 ha forestry-drained peatland catchment for 2 years after ditch cleaning. Comparing simulation results to measured SS concentrations suggested that the loose peat material, produced during excavation, contributed markedly to elevated SS concentrations immediately after ditch cleaning. Both snowmelt and summer rainstorms contributed critically to annual loads. Springtime peat erosion during snowmelt was driven by ditch flow whereas during summer rainfalls, bank erosion by raindrop impact was identified as an important process. Relating modeling results to observed spatial topographic changes in the ditch network was challenging and the results were difficult to verify. Nevertheless, the model has potential to identify risk areas for erosion. The results demonstrate that modeling is effective in separating the importance of different processes and complements pure experimental approaches. Modeling results can aid planning and designing efficient sediment control measures and guide the focus of experimental studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9001-9019
Number of pages19
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • ditch network
  • FLUSH model
  • modeling
  • peat erosion
  • peatland drainage
  • sediment transport

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling sediment transport after ditch network maintenance of a forested peatland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this