Typology, reference condition and classification of the Belgian Coastal Waters
This project fits within the Second multi-annual Scientific Support Plan for a Sustainable Development Policy (SPSD II), Part II “Global Change, Ecosystems and Biodiversity”.
Since the establishment of the European Water Framework Directive in 2000 member states need to comply with the objectives set in this directive.
One of the objectives of the Water framework directive is the classification of different waterbodies into types (typology) according to two systems proposed by the directive. Next to the typology of the surface waters (which also include coastal waters) a ‘biological’ reference condition needs to be established per type, indicating the status of the waters unmodified by human activity.
The biological reference condition will be based upon a good ecological status of the surface waters, classified as to their biological, hydromorphological and physicochemical status.
With this study we aim to fulfill all objectives mentioned above for the Belgian coastal waters, up to one nautical mile from the coastline. The project combines a general overview of the Belgian coastal and marine jurisdiction and its status towards the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, the availability of information and datasets together with the scientific analysis with respect to typology, reference conditions and classification of the coastal waters. This project will directly be relevant towards the Belgian obligations regarding the implementation of the directive and will be accomplished through a sequence of different work packages.
In work package one the Belgian jurisdiction with regard to its coastal and marine policies will be examined together with its status with respect to the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Existing datasets and information of conducted research will be listed, analysed and classified according to their relevance. Different datasets to be used are available at different universities, at the Management Unit of the Mathematical Models of the North Sea (MUMM) and at the Flemish Institute of the Sea (VLIZ).
In the second work package the coastal waters will be classified according to their type.
The typology will be based upon the available information and datasets retrieved in WP1, and will be classified according to System A or System B. Both systems will be evaluated and the system that is preferred will be highlighted.
In a third work package the reference conditions will be set. Type specific biological reference conditions shall be established, representing the values of the biological quality elements for coastal water types at high ecological status. In defining these biological reference conditions, criteria for the physicochemical and hydromorphological quality elements at high status will be established. In this work package an evaluation of the different methods (historical data analysis, modelling, expert judgement,…) that can be used for determining these reference conditions will be undertaken and the appropriate method will be selected and applied to the available datasets.
In the fourth work package the classification of the coastal waters will be drafted taking the available datasets from WP1 and the outcome of WP3 into account. The coastal waters will be classified according to their ecological status as proposed by the framework directive and the guidance document on typology, reference conditions and classification systems for transitional and coastal waters.
In the last work package recommendation will be elaborated towards policy makers.
Throughout this project association with ongoing studies with respect to transitional waters is looked at.