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Approaches for integrated assessment of ecological and eutrophication status of surface waters in Nordic Countries

Andersen, Jesper H., Aroviita, Jukka, Carstensen, Jacob, Friberg, Nikolai, Johnson, Richard K., Kauppila, Pirkko, Lindegarth, Mats, Murray, Ciarán, Norling, Karl
Ambio 2016 v.45 no.6 pp. 681-691
European Union, coastal water, eutrophication, lakes, rivers, surface water, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Scandinavia, Sweden
We review approaches and tools currently used in Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) for integrated assessment of ‘ecological status’ sensu the EU Water Framework Directive as well as assessment of ‘eutrophication status’ in coastal and marine waters. Integration principles for combining indicators within biological quality elements (BQEs) and combining BQEs into a final-integrated assessment are discussed. Specific focus has been put on combining different types of information into indices, since several methods are currently employed. As a consequence of the variety of methods used, comparisons across both BQEs and water categories (river, lakes and coastal waters) can be difficult. Based on our analyses, we conclude that some principles and methods for integration can be critical and that a harmonised approach should be developed. Further, we conclude that the integration principles applied within BQEs are critical and in need of harmonisation if we want a better understanding of potential transition in ecological status between surface water types, e.g. when riverine water enters a downstream lake or coastal water body.