• investment;
  • sediment;
  • spatial modeling

[1] On the basis of a spatially distributed sediment budget across a large basin, costs of achieving certain sediment reduction targets in rivers were estimated. A range of investment prioritization scenarios were tested to identify the most cost-effective strategy to control suspended sediment loads. The scenarios were based on successively introducing more information from the sediment budget. The relationship between spatial heterogeneity of contributing sediment sources on cost effectiveness of prioritization was investigated. Cost effectiveness was shown to increase with sequential introduction of sediment budget terms. The solution which most decreased cost was achieved by including spatial information linking sediment sources to the downstream target location. This solution produced cost curves similar to those derived using a genetic algorithm formulation. Appropriate investment prioritization can offer large cost savings because the magnitude of the costs can vary by several times depending on what type of erosion source or sediment delivery mechanism is targeted. Target settings which only consider the erosion source rates can potentially result in spending more money than random management intervention for achieving downstream targets. Coherent spatial patterns of contributing sediment emerge from the budget model and its many inputs. The heterogeneity in these patterns can be summarized in a succinct form. This summary was shown to be consistent with the cost difference between local and regional prioritization for three of four test catchments. To explain the effect for the fourth catchment, the detail of the individual sediment sources needed to be taken into account.