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Unsteady Flow Simulation and Erosion Assessment in a Ditch Network of a Drained Peatland Forest Catchment in Eastern Finland


We developed and applied a computational model for simulating unsteady flow in a drainage network of a boreal forested peatland site. The input to the model was the hourly runoff produced by a hydrological model. The simulations of the flow in the ditch network were performed using an iterative procedure for solving the Saint-Venant equations that govern the flow in each of the network channels. These equations were solved separately for each ditch branch, and the flow depths at the junctions were corrected using the method of characteristics. The model was applied to the drainage network of a peatland catchment in Eastern Finland over a period of 15 months. Because flow resistance in the ditches depended strongly on flow conditions, flow resistance (Manning’s n) was introduced as a function of discharge. The model was calibrated and validated against field data and the simulation results were further applied to assess erosion risk. The highest risk of erosion occurred during long lasting flows induced by snowmelt at ditch sections with a steep slope and a large upstream area. These model results can aid in the design and siting of water protection measures within the drained area.

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