Erosion processes in river basins and the consequent transport of sediment and sediment‐bound pollutants to reservoirs cause hydromorphological changes and eutrophication, as well as the loss of reservoir storage capacity. This chapter deals with the optimal selection and implementation of agri‐environmental measures in river basins to reduce sediment yield and load. The main aim of this was to contribute to more efficient river basin management by minimizing soil erosion, while protecting valuable agricultural land. This includes implementing measures at the most critical source areas, where they are most effective and necessary. The river Ledava basin was selected as the study area. It covers an area of 105 km2 in northeast Slovenia and southeast Austria. The results of monitoring the river Ledava discharge reveal that the average annual concentration of sediment in the water body exceeded the recommended value of 25 mg/l by 46.7%. Using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), we were able to determine critical source areas and simulate the effects of eight different agri‐environmental scenarios on sediment yield reduction. The results show that critical source areas comprise 12% of the river basin. Most of the scenarios reduced sediment load in the river Ledava where steeper slopes in the sub‐basin prevail and where high average annual sediment transport from hydrologic response units (HRUs) has been identified. The impact of the scenarios on the average annual sediment load (ton/year) in the river was lower than for the sediment yield (ton/ha) at the HRU level.
Part of the book: River Basin Management