|How will the ecological quality status of benthos in coastal waters evolve (ECOSTAT)?|
|Van Hoey, G.; Derweduwen, J.; Vandendriessche, S.; Parmentier, K.; Hostens, K. (2009). How will the ecological quality status of benthos in coastal waters evolve (ECOSTAT)? ILVO: Belgium. 63 pp.|
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The European Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) (WFD) aims to achieve a good ecological and chemical status of European waters in 2015. This project focuses on the quality element macroinvertebrates (benthos) for the Belgian coastal waters (< 1 nautical mile). The Belgian coastal waters, belonging to the Scheldt river basin district, are subject to many anthropogenic pressures, such as eutrophication, coastal defence works, ship traffic and physical disturbance (fishery). The presence of these pressure factors may impair quality improvements in Belgian coastal waters, so it is unclear whether a good status for benthos can be reached by the deadline of 2015. If the WFD objective would not be reached, it would be possible to obtain a delay of 6 or 12 years (2021, 2027) or to set reduced environmental objectives. An application for delay or reduced environmental objectives and their reasons have to be motivated in the first Scheldt River Basin Management Plan of 2009. Therefore, there is a need to scientifically evaluate the ecological status that can be reached at the three determined deadlines (2015, 2021 and 2027) for the biological quality elements macroinvertebrates
and to ground the reasons for asking a delay or reduced environmental objectives. The scientific knowledge (current measure programmes, ecological status of coastal benthos, relation between benthos and its environment, modeling possibilities, longterm benthos trends) needed for the evaluation of a realistic future ecological status are gathered during this project. An answer is formulated in the discussion section based on the gathered information and the discussion during an expert meeting.