Floods of meadows in the delta of the river Nemunas contribute to the deposition and retention of sediments and nutrient that would otherwise deposit in the Curonian Lagoon. In grassland area of the Nemunas delta the formation of alluvial soil occurs according to the flood dynamic rules: water discharging into the valley leaves suspended sediments on the soil surface. By mathematical modelling it was established that about 35% of suspended sediments inflow deposited there. Due to sand particles deposited during the study period (1950-1991), the natural river bank levee rose by 0.3 m. Fine clay and silt particles deposited uniformly within the entire model area and formed a 4-6 mm thick layer there. It contained about 50-60 t/ha of silt deposits. The valley soils were naturally fertilized with 250 t of potassium, 950 t of phosphorus, 38,000 t of calcium, and even 147,000 t of organic matter saturated with nitrogen. Certain amount of heavy metals also deposited there.
The deposition process has not yet been adequately investigated under the conditions of flow bed covered by grass. It was established that grass cover intensified the sediment deposition in the floodplain. Considering calculation results and measurement data, the process of suspended sediment deposition was analysed and new formulas were derived. It was established that in order to increase sedimentation in the valley, it would be necessary to increase water discharge overflowing from river bed into the delta valley.
- Received June 25, 2002.
- Revision received January 6, 2003.
- Accepted March 28, 2003.
- © IWA Publishing 2003