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Ecole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre


Home > Experimental sites > ROUFFACH


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Responsible : S. Payraudeau

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Phone : + 33 (0)3 68 85 04 37


This partnership is the brainchild of the agricultural profession and water quality managers to have field references in terms of runoff and pesticide transport in the northern vineyards at the scale of headwater basins. In the background of these 10 years of study, there is a research pole: first the Centre of Plant Ecology and Hydrology (CEVH, University of Strasbourg / ENGEES) and later the Laboratory of Hydrology and Geochemistry Strasbourg (LHyGeS, University of Strasbourg / ENGEES, CNRS), education centers: ENGEES and EPLEFPA, a municipality: the city of Rouffach, and wine growers of the EPLEFPA Domain and the Horain catchment. Initiated by Caroline Grégoire, the scientific animation of the Rouffach experimental site is currently led by Sylvain Payraudeau and Gwenaël Imfeld at LHyGeS.


For 10 years, the goal of this research is to provide a holistic and multiphasic understanding on the fate of pesticides (organic as glyphosate, or inorganic such as copper) in the continuum consisting of a small vineyard catchment hydrologically connected to a stormwater wetland intercepting pesticides runoff.

Site description

The outlet of the watershed was equipped in 2002 (PhD Thesis of Nicolas Domange) and different plots have been studied since. The climatic, agronomic and hydrological data collected since 2002, and hydrochemical data are collected since 2009 at the inlet and outlet of the stormwater wetland.

A device at the heart of national, regional and international scientific network

At national level, the Rouffach site was at the heart of the ENRHY project (2010-2013 - funding ONEMA) and the VitiFlux project (2010-2012 - INSU funding). The Rouffach site has enable numerous studies in the framework of the EU project ArtWET (2006-2010 - Life) and PhytoRET (2010-2014 - Interreg IV). At the level of the Alsace Region, the Rouffach site is supported by the Alsace Regional Council and the REALISE network. At the international level, the site has enabled collaborative studies with German (UFZ, Luneburg, Freiburg and Landau), Italian (Piazenca) partners, Dutch (University of Twente), Australian (University of Western Australia) and U.S. (USGS) partners.

Scientific results

The Rouffach site has been the ‘playground’ for seven PhD theses (Tournebize 2002; Domange 2005; Madier, 2007 Tapia, 2010; Lefrancq Maillard Babcsanyi, ongoing) and more than twenty Master theses.
Since 2009, the results generated from studies carried out in Rouffach have resulted in 24 peer-reviewed international articles and more than 40 proceedings in national and international conferences.
The main results are:

  • Catchment scale: 1) quantification of drift and deposition of fungicides, 2) characterization of copper in agricultural soils and 3) the quantification and the development of tools for predicting flow surface of pesticides.
  • Stormwater wetland: 1) quantitative assessment of pesticide and copper attenuation and detailed mass balance in the various wetland compartments, and 2) predictive hydrological modeling of pesticide transport.

Dissemination of results to stakeholders, public and students

The results are regularly presented in the framework of public meetings, workshops organized by agricultural and water stakeholders, newsletters and summary reports, especially in the framework of European projects ArtWET and PhytoRET. The scientific results are regularly integrated and updated in the ENGEES and Masters courses.

Conclusion and perspectives

The experimental site Colmar is an open-air laboratory to generate universal results on pollutant transport in small agricultural catchments and stormwater wetlands for the study of the fate of contaminants. It offers a regional value in terms of knowledge production and transfer via training and learning through research.
Our main perspective on the experimental site is to increase:
• Scientific activities including the development and testing of innovative tools for hydrogeochemical characterization of contaminant sources, transport and their mitigation in wetlands based on the study of their isotopic signature and / or chiral.
• Educational activities by developing an analytical teaching and joint ENGEES / LHyGeS research on the characterization of pollutant transfer and developing new teaching units "Contaminants transport quantification" for students and in-service training for compagnies involved to the design of artificial wetlands


The list of people to associate with scientific and educational success of this experimental site is long. However the determining role of Caroline Gregoire at ENGEES, André Roth and Christine Klein at EPLEFPA and Mr. Toucas, Mayor of Rouffach, should be emphasized.