Irrespective of the manifold efforts of combating eutrophication and pollution, water quality of the Baltic Sea is still not satisfying the agreed targets set by, e.g. EU-WFD, EU-MSRL and HELCOM. For the Baltic, the most visible part of the problem is beach wrack, an organic material washed ashore which is both, an indication of nutrient-rich conditions as well as a source of nutrients that feed the productivity of shallow water systems. Removing this material, in a sustainable way, will have a positive impact on local wrack cycles to an extent that it efficiently improves water quality on a local scale. In contrast to other measures for improving water quality, beach wrack management offers the chance of a win-win situation, since it is done for other purposes, but unfortunately, often in a non-sustainable way that doesn't exploit its potential for water management. The main goal of the project is therefore, to develop the knowledge required for sustainable beach wrack management as part of water management. Beach wrack management is a specific issue for local authorities and the tourism industry of the western and southern Baltic Sea behind the Belt. Being a microtidal area, seaborne material can cover the beaches for weeks after storms, rotting to a smelly soup that leaches back into water until the next storm. Since the recovery of the Baltic Sea grass meadows, the problem is growing. Municipalities are also faced with an increasing number of legal aspects that range from regulations for its removal to habitat protection issues – which are all to be taken into account for beach wrack management. This project will unlock the status quo regarding beach wrack, improve water quality and promote blue growth. The project will fulfill this task by A) investigating all environmental aspects of beach wrack (WP3); B) investigating socio-economic and regulatory aspects of beach management, wrack treatment and water quality management (WP4) and, C) performing a set of specific case studies for beach wrack treatment options and their impact on water quality (WP5). Overarching goals are capacity building, dissemination & awareness-raising activities and the creation of a network for information exchange and stakeholder co-operation within the Baltic Sea Region (WP2). There are three central outputs expected from the work: I) an active network of municipalities, enterprises and research institutions in the Baltic Sea region cooperating on the topic of improving water quality by sustainable beach wrack management, II) a set of tested and fully documented options for beach wrack treatment that municipalities, governmental bodies and interested enterprises can choose from and III) a comprehensive reference document, containing all information about beach wrack and its treatment options for the improvement of water quality, that serves as a reference as well as a guideline for the Baltic Sea region.
|Effektiv start/slut dato||01/01/2019 → 30/06/2021|