The purpose of the Conwy Research Catchment Observatory is to study landscape-scale processes for water, soil and vegetation across a whole river catchment - encompassing an array of land use and soil types from upland mountains and moors to the river-estuary transition zone (RETZ) and coast. This observatory contributes to the Upland Water Monitoring Network (listed separately below) and also provides an experimental research platform. It is increasingly recognised that the emergent properties of flows at the landscape and catchment scale are critical to understand landscape scale processes and to inform effective environmental management.
The Conwy Research Catchment is currently equipped to provide meteorological and water quality measurements throughout the catchment area from upland to coast. Other instruments and surveys can be deployed for specific research projects, for example to measure greenhouse gas emissions, net primary productivity, soil properties and functions, and more. The sub-catchment network encompasses a regionally representative gradient of soils, land cover, land use and land use intensity.
The Conwy Research Catchment was initiated in 2005 as part of the UKCEH 'Carbon Catchments' network, and expanded in 2012 as one of three designated catchments for the then NERC Macronutrient Strategic Programme which supported projects involving UKCEH and other users. This observatory is now reduced to basic monitoring, however its capabilities can be re-activated as required for new research projects.
The Conwy Research Catchment provides the only research platform in UKCEH which goes from the uplands to coastal systems (the Thames is lowland to coast).
Conwy Research Catchment data freely available via the UKCEH Environmental Information Data Centre (EIDC). Access for field research is available via UKCEH Bangor.
The Conwy catchment drains to the Irish Sea at Conwy, North Wales (3o50̒W 53oN). The catchment area including the estuary is 580 km2. The drainage area includes much of the Snowdonia mountain range to the west (t0 1000m), the Migneint peat moor to the south, and lower altitude hills to the east.
Current funders of the Conwy Research Catchment are Welsh Government (Sustainable Management Scheme: SMS) and UKRI-NERC National Capability LTSS: UK-SCaPE programme. Past project funders have included Defra, BEIS, DAERA, and UKRI-NERC research grants.
Conwy Research Catchment users include: Natural Resources Wales; Defra - Environment Agency; UKCEH and university researchers (both UK and abroad); Welsh Water (DCWW) and others over the years.
Landscape or catchment
28 April 2022 13:27
Chris BarryUK Centre for Ecology & HydrologyBangor