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The future of European water management: Demonstration of a new WFD compliant framework to support sustainable management under multiple stress

Published on Mar 1, 2019in Science of The Total Environment5.589
· DOI :10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.008
Annette Baattrup-Pedersen17
Estimated H-index: 17
(AU: Aarhus University),
Søren E. Larsen34
Estimated H-index: 34
(AU: Aarhus University)
+ 1 AuthorsTenna Riis27
Estimated H-index: 27
(AU: Aarhus University)
Source
Abstract
Abstract The Water Framework Directive (WFD), which is the most comprehensive instrument of EU water policy, is more relevant than ever. Sixty percent of Europe's surface water bodies still fail to achieve good ecological status and a multitude of new stressors continue to emerge. A sustained and wholehearted water management effort is therefore of highest priority. Here, we present a new biological assessment approach specifically designed to safeguard sustainable water management under multiple stress. The framework contains three independent elements: 1) an ecological assessment system based on community abundance and composition to quantify ecological status; 2) a diagnostic tool to identify cause(s) of ecological degradation; 3) a management platform to guide the choice of relevant mitigation measures for improvement of the ecological status. The proposed framework is fully compliant with the WFD and currently applied in the assessment of aquatic plant communities in Danish streams. Importantly, the approach presented is not restricted to specific taxonomic groups or ecosystem types but is an example of how a simple approach can bring the conceptual idea of the WFD – that community characteristics in unimpacted, type-specific water bodies should be the backbone in ecological assessments – into practice.
  • References (18)
  • Citations (2)
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References18
Newest
#1Annette Baattrup-Pedersen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 17
#2N. B. Ovesen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 7
Last. Jes J. Rasmussen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 19
view all 7 authors...
3 CitationsSource
#1Matthew T. O'HareH-Index: 22
#2Annette Baattrup-Pedersen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 17
Last. Michael J. BowesH-Index: 31
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Compared to research on eutrophication in lakes there has been significantly less work carried out on rivers despite the importance of the topic. However, over the last decade there has been a surge of interest in the response of aquatic plants to eutrophication in rivers. This is an area of applied research and the work has been driven by the widespread nature of the impacts and the significant opportunities for system remediation. A conceptual model has been put forward to describe how aquatic...
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#1Ralf B. SchäferH-Index: 31
#2Bernhard KühnH-Index: 1
Last. René Gergs (EA: Environment Agency)H-Index: 13
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Summary River ecosystems are threatened by multiple stressors, including habitat degradation, pollution and invasive species. However, freshwater ecologists have largely disregarded the contribution of toxicants to stress in rivers, whereas ecotoxicologists have primarily examined toxicant effects in artificial systems. As a result, there is a paucity of information on the co-occurrence of organic toxicants with other stressors and on the relative importance of toxicants for overall ecological r...
26 CitationsSource
#1Annette Baattrup-Pedersen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 17
#2Emma Göthe (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 10
Last. Matthew T. O'HareH-Index: 22
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Historically, close attention has been paid to negative impacts associated with nutrient loads to streams and rivers, but today hydromorphological alterations are considered increasingly implicated when lowland streams do not achieve good ecological status. Here, we explore if trait-abundance patterns of aquatic plants change along gradients in hydromorphological degradation and eutrophication in lowland stream sites located in Denmark. Specifically, we hypothesised that: i) changes in trait-abu...
22 CitationsSource
#1Annette Baattrup-Pedersen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 17
#2Emma Göthe (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 10
Last. Nikolai Friberg (Norwegian Institute for Water Research)H-Index: 34
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1. Previous studies investigating community-level relationships between plant functional trait characteristics and stream environmental characteristics remain scarce. Here, we used community-weighted means to identify how plant traits link to lowland stream typology and how agricultural intensity in the catchment affects trait composition. 2. We analysed plant trait characteristics in 772 European lowland streams to test the following two hypotheses: (i) trait characteristics differ between plan...
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#1Annette Baattrup-Pedersen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 17
#2Søren E. Larsen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 34
Last. Tenna RiisH-Index: 27
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Abstract The EC Water Framework Directive (WFD) clearly states that undisturbed reference states of aquatic ecosystems should be used to set standards for restoration. Across Europe defining biological reference status and setting boundaries for ecological status classes continues to represent a major challenge. In the present study we investigate if a paradigm exists among experts that can guide the development of assessment systems based on the normative definitions of ecological status classe...
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#1Sebastian Birk (University of Duisburg-Essen)H-Index: 20
#2Wendy BonneH-Index: 5
Last. Daniel Hering (University of Duisburg-Essen)H-Index: 45
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Abstract According to the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the status of European surface waters is assessed using aquatic organism groups. Here we present an overview of 297 assessment methods, based on a questionnaire survey addressing authorities in all countries implementing the WFD. Twenty-eight countries reported on methods applied to rivers (30%), coastal waters (26%), lakes (25%) and transitional waters (19%). More than half of the methods are based on macroscopic plants (28%) or benthic...
444 CitationsSource
#1Annette Baattrup-Pedersen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 17
#2Hans Estrup Andersen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 25
Last. Rasmus Ejrnæs (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 25
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Abstract Wetland habitats are among the most threatened of all ecosystems today and still face an on-going threat despite several international agreements and national policies. In Europe, the Habitats Directive (HD) plays an important role in the protection of habitats and species of European importance. In the present study we use statistical modelling techniques and geographic information systems to explore linkages between HD Annex 1 listed habitats in wetlands and catchment characteristics,...
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#1B. ThompsonH-Index: 14
#2Stephen B. Weisberg (Southern California Coastal Water Research Project)H-Index: 41
Last. Peter N. SlatteryH-Index: 13
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Abstract Benthic indices to support aquatic environmental condition assessments have been more effectively developed for higher than lower salinity habitats. Here we quantify agreement among benthic experts using best professional judgment to assess community condition of mesohaline and tidal freshwater samples from the San Francisco Estuary and Delta, and compare that to a previous study for San Francisco Estuary polyhaline samples. Benthic species abundance data from 20 sites in each habitat w...
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#1Nigel B. Keeley (Cawthron Institute)H-Index: 9
#2Catriona K. Macleod (UTAS: University of Tasmania)H-Index: 16
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Many benthic quality indices rely on categorising impacts by assigning species to ecological-groups (EGs) that reflect their tolerance to pollution. This is usually based on best professional judgement (BPJ) by experts with access to relevant ecological and taxonomic information. However, international applicability of such indices is restricted in areas where the species taxonomy, biology and response to pollution are poorly understood. In this study we describe an approach that enables objecti...
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Abstract The European Union has embarked on a policy which aims to achieve good ecological status in all surface waters (i.e. rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal waters). In theory, ecological status assessment methods should address the effects of all relevant human pressures. In this study, we analyze the degree to which methods European countries use to assess ecological status tackle various pressures affecting European waters. Nutrient pollution is by far the best-covered pressure for a...
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Abstract The river restoration approach brought several contributions to river basin management offering different river assessment tools, proposing quantitative methods and aggregated indexes with the aim of defining an environmental river status. However, many of the existing classification systems still use only the water quality as reference or, when considering a more complete framework, they are not easily applicable by river managers. Considering this fact, this work presents the River Cl...
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#1Theodoros Giakoumis (Imperial College London)H-Index: 3
#2Nikolaos Voulvoulis (Imperial College London)H-Index: 37
Abstract The European Union's Water Framework Directive (WFD) required Member States to establish programmes of measures to achieve good water status formally by 2015, but on postponing the deadline by two six-year periods, by 2027 at the latest. With many Member States facing problems with developing such measures in the first planning cycle, and limited change in ecological status since the first river basin management plans were reported, we look at the implementation of the Directive in Engl...
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#1Laurence CarvalhoH-Index: 37
#2Eleanor B. MackayH-Index: 9
Last. Anne Lyche Solheim (Norwegian Institute for Water Research)H-Index: 13
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Abstract The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is a pioneering piece of legislation that aims to protect and enhance aquatic ecosystems and promote sustainable water use across Europe. There is growing concern that the objective of good status, or higher, in all EU waters by 2027 is a long way from being achieved in many countries. Through questionnaire analysis of almost 100 experts, we provide recommendations to enhance WFD monitoring and assessment systems, improve programmes of measures and fu...
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