Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 135, Issue 1–3, pp 369–382 | Cite as

Exploratory study of suspended sediment concentrations downstream of harvested peat bogs

  • Bronwyn Pavey
  • André Saint-Hilaire
  • Simon Courtenay
  • Taha Ouarda
  • Bernard Bobée


Peat bog harvesting is an important industry in many countries, including Canada. To harvest peat, bogs are drained and drainage water is evacuated towards neighboring rivers, estuaries or coastal waters. High suspended sediment concentrations (SSC) were found in the drainage water at one particular site during the 2001–2002 spring seasons in New Brunswick (Canada). The main objective of this study was to verify this observation at other sites, compare SSC levels leaving harvested peat bogs with those leaving an unharvested bog, and to determine if high SSC events happen only in Spring or all year round. Suspended sediment concentrations were monitored downstream of three harvested peat bogs and an unharvested reference bog located in New Brunswick during the ice free seasons of 2003–2004. On average, SSC at the harvested sites exceeded 25 mg/l, which is the recommended daily maximum concentration, 72% of the time, while the same concentration was exceeded 30% of the time at the unharvested sites. SSC were found to be significantly higher at harvested sites than at the reference sites for all seasons. The highest SSC medians were recorded in the Fall but SSC was elevated in all seasons. High SSC levels in receiving waters may be caused by field ditching activities and insufficient sediment controls. Findings suggest the NB Peat Harvesting 25 mg/l SSC guideline should be reviewed.


Drainage Harvesting Peat bogs Sedimentation ponds Suspended sediment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bronwyn Pavey
    • 1
  • André Saint-Hilaire
    • 1
  • Simon Courtenay
    • 2
  • Taha Ouarda
    • 1
  • Bernard Bobée
    • 1
  1. 1.Chair in Statistical Hydrology, INRS-ETEQuebec CityCanada
  2. 2.Fisheries and Oceans Canada at the Canadian Rivers Institute, Department of BiologyUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada

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