|dc.description.abstract||Riparian buffer strips are an established land management measure utilised to address diffuse
pollution from agriculture and improve ecology. Previous studies have emphasised the multiple
benefits of riparian buffer strips such as nutrient filtration and sediment trapping, which can be
transported in overland flow and implies runoff is attenuated. Riparian buffer strips are not
explicitly considered a natural flood management (NFM) measure. Nonetheless, they have the
potential for inclusion to the catalogue of nature-based measures being implemented to reduce
runoff and flood risk, while offering multiple benefits. An ecosystem services (ES) approach can
be adopted to assess NFM multiple benefits (as multiple ES) and this study utilises a subset of ES
to provide an example of this. Regulating and supporting ES were utilised to determine the
effectiveness of riparian buffer strips as an NFM measure. At field scale, an experimental approach
assessed flood regulation by monitoring runoff attenuation in a riparian buffer strip situated on an
agricultural hillslope. An indication of nutrient cycling and primary production conditions at field
scale was achieved by monitoring algae biomass and comparing a buffered and non-buffered site.
The interaction between precipitation events, land management changes and nutrient concentrations
were considered at the buffered site in relation to runoff attenuation and algae biomass response.
At catchment scale, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool was utilised to explore reduction in peak
flow (flood regulation) in response to varying scenarios of catchment-wide riparian buffer strips in
terms of width and vegetation type.
The empirical field observations demonstrated the riparian buffer strip provided runoff
attenuation. Higher volumes of runoff coincided with bare soils in the adjacent field, wetter
antecedent conditions, higher precipitation depths and intense precipitation. However, runoff
attenuation could be improved. On the hillslope, microtopography of vehicle tracks diverted
overland flow away from the buffer but the field corner demonstrated potential for a complimentary
runoff attenuation feature (e.g. a temporary storage pond). At catchment scale, the 10 m grass-based
buffer strip was concluded to be most effective for flood regulation and achieve a greater ratio of
peak flow reduction (average 7.2%) to area of land required (2.1% of catchment). The riparian
buffer strip demonstrated marginally better ecological quality conditions for nutrient cycling and
primary production compared to the non-buffered site. Buffer shading positively affected the
supporting ES. The study suggested high flows as a likely dominant influence on algae biomass.
Overall, riparian buffer strips were concluded to be an effective NFM measure at field and
catchment scale but could be improved with complimentary measures when located on a hillslope.||en