ECOSTAT nutrient meeting

ECOSTAT nutrient meeting

ECOSTAT nutrient meeting 18-19 November, Berlin

Household wastewater and runoff from agricultural land contribute to large amounts nutrients (especially phosphates and nitrates) entering EU waters, which accelerates the growth of aquatic plants and leads to eutrophication.

The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) entered into force in the 2000 and sets the environmental objectives for all European surface and ground waters. The objectives of the Directive are to protect waters, prevent deterioration and protect and improve the water balance of dependent terrestrial ecosystems and wetlands. The central element to achieving these goals is the definition of good ecological status (Art. 4 WFD), for which phosphate and nitrate play a decisive role.

On 15 July 2008, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive of the European Union (MSFD) entered into force with the aim – analogous to the provisions of the WFD – to achieve or maintain “good environmental status” of the marine environment by 2020. In the course of implementation, each EU Member State must develop a strategy for its marine regions to achieve the objectives, starting with an initial assessment of the environmental status (Art. 8 MSFD), the recognition of good environmental status (Art. 9 MSFD) and the establishment of environmental targets (Art. 10 MSFD) by 2012.

In the implementation of these two directives, the Member States should set concentration boundaries for phosphate and nitrate. These limits should be matched ideally, since the rivers represent a primary pathway of nutrients into the sea.

The Working Group on Ecological Status (ECOSTAT), as part of the Common Implementation Strategy for the WFD and MSFD, agreed to address the topic of wide variations in the concentration boundaries set by the MS. In February 2013, a workshop in Birmingham was held to further explore these variations. At the working group meeting in Madrid, Germany, the UK and JRC agreed to take the issue forward.

In this line the aims of the meeting were:

  • To discuss the comparison of the nutrient boundaries and the methods to derive nutrient boundaries;
  • To discuss the work on using pressure-response relationships to set nutrient boundaries;
  • To draw conclusion and to decide on the way forward.

The agenda can be downloaded here (pdf)

Please find below the relevant documents for the workshop:

All presentations can be found below:

Day 1:


Welcome BAM

Background and aims of the ECOSTAT nutrient work

Nutrients in the WFD and associated CIS guidance –a reminder

Brief overview of the outcome of the JRC Descriptor 5 workshop to support the review process of the Commission Decision

Session 1 -– Comparison of European freshwater and saline water nutrient boundaries and their application

Comparison of freshwater nutrient boundary values

Saline Water Report

Nutrients in Lakes and Watercourses

Norwegian methods used to set TP boundaries and how they have worked in practice

Setting saline water nutrient boundaries in Swedish waters

MS contributions – Croatian, Italian and Slovenian approach

The HELCOM common regional approach for eutrophication target setting in the Baltic Sea

Working group 1a: comparison & application of freshwater nutrient boundaries

Working group 1b: Working group on the comparison of saline water nutrient boundaries and their application

Report back working goup 1a

Report back working goup 1b

Session 2 – Analysis of pressure-response relationships and application of nutrient boundaries

Methods and results for lakes

Results for rivers

Pressure Response-Saline

Day 2:

Recalling day 1

Working groups 2a and 2b on pressure-response relationships and application of nutrient boundaries

Analysis of pressure-response relationships

Feedback Report Freshwater 1a

Feedback Report Freshwater 1b

Feedback Report Salinewater 1c

Session 3 – How to align or relate nutrient boundaries for different water categories in order to allow for a consistent management approach

Saline waters

Transferring nutrient reduction targets DE


Wrap up and next steps


18.11.2015 - 19.11.2015


9:00 - 17:00



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