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Józef Szpikowski

Geomorphological Effects of River Valleys Anthropogenic Transformations in the Perznica Catchment During the Last 200 Years (Drawsko Lakeland, Parsęta River Basin)

The studies on geomorphological aspects of environmental changes in the river valleys were part of the work carried out under the diagnosis of anthropogenic transformation of the relief of the Perznica basin (West Pomerania, Drawsko Lakeland). Human interference in the river valleys and anthropogenic changes in the natural hydrological systems in the Perznica catchment influenced the transformation of the relief and the intensity of morphogenetic processes. Numerous anthropogenic landforms were formed, including embankments, dams, dykes along the canals, ditches and canals, reservoirs basins, and peat excavations. The drainage resulted in an intensification of the river erosion, straightening, shortening and increase of the river gradient, as well as the increase of quantity of the suspended matter leaving the catchments. An increase of anthropogenic denudation on agricultural lands, due to the entering of the crops grown on drained depressions and valleys, led to the masking of the original relief with deluvial sediments and the formation and expansion of agricultural terraces on the edge of the fields.

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Józef Szpikowski, Grażyna Szpikowska and Monika Domańska

Abstract

Meliorations and their specific forms – irrigations – are one of the forms of anthropopressure within geoecosystems. The research studies conducted within the Parsęta basin focused on the sub-irrigation (seepage irrigation) systems formed in the 19th century. Query of archive materials and maps, hydrochemical and phytosociological terrain mapping and laboratory testing of water samples collected were used in the studies. In the study area were found the remains of the thirty old irrigation systems, which together occupy 2% of the Parsęta basin area. For many years most of them have not fulfilled their primary economic functions. Still, these systems have an impact on the cycle of waters and have become an important factor in increasing the geo- and biodiversity within the postglacial landscape. By expanding a range of wetland riparian areas, they fulfil relevant functions to protect surface waters against the supply of biogenic components. Some of them could be used to enlarge wetlands and floodplains within river valleys.

Open access

Józef Szpikowski and Grażyna Szpikowska

Abstract

Rivers are hydromorphologically assessed in line with the Water Framework Directive. In order to assess the quality of the Parsęta River environment, the River Habitat Survey method was applied. The research studies, conducted in June 2016, provided an overview of hydromorphological issues, and also covered measurements and laboratory analyses on the quality of its waters. There were 24 measuring sections selected along the whole river. The selection of these sections took into account the representativeness of genetically various types of river valley, its size and discharge, and the variability of anthropogenic pressure. The assessment showed that the Parsęta River varies in natural quality (its HQA index ranged from 17 to 61) and that the modification of its valley is variable but generally low (its HMS index ranged from 0 to 33). Seventy-nine percent of the analysed sections were classified to the second (II) and third (III) hydromorphological classes, 8% to the first (I), and 13% to the fourth (IV). The central section of the Parsęta River has the highest degree of naturalness and the lowest degree of transformation. The river valley sections of kettle-hole origin are more transformed than those of fluvial origin. The quality of the Parsęta River waters assessed on the grounds of their physicochemical parameters indicates that the river is in good condition. The individual river water parameters are most often within the first (I) and second (II) classes. Any instances of the quality of waters being below the “good” level are due to phosphate concentrations exceeding the second (II) class and are contained within a 15-km stretch of the river below Białogard. A river section with a high degree of hydromorphological naturalness has the worst quality of waters.