Managing aquatic ecosystems and water resources under multiple stress

Rivers, lakes and wetlands are under intense pressure from multiple uses, pollution and habitat degradation. The services that aquatic ecosystems can provide to society have been greatly reduced, and the biota is strongly affected, with several aquatic species disappearing from entire ecoregions. Formerly, rivers and lakes were impacted by strong, single pressures, e.g. by organic pollution or acidification. They were replaced by a complex mix of pressures resulting from urban and agricultural land use, water power generation and climate change. In particular, the interaction of multiple pressures is poorly understood and documented.

This website provides new and important results for water managers and environmental policy makers across Europe. In particular the information collected aims to contribute to strengthening the effective implementation of Water Framework Directive, the key piece of European legislation implemented in 2000 to protect and improve the quality of Europe’s freshwaters. You have access to different tools supporting river basin management planning and a comprehensive knowledge base on single and multiple pressures, their single and combined impact on aquatic ecosystems or services and associated mitigation measures.

The information presented is meant for European water management and is a result from the MARS project. It is designed to serve as an introductory gateway for the complex topic regarding the impact of multiple stressor combinations on freshwater ecosystems. The Freshwater Information System provides:

  • An information library containing
    • Factsheets for various drivers and pressures including their impact and mitigation options
    • Factsheets for ecosystem services and storylines for future scenarios
    • Factsheets for individual stressors and multiple stressor combinations
  • Selected Case studies on the impact of multiple stressors in river basins under present conditions and contrasting future scenarios.
  • A model selection tool for river basin management
  • Guidelines supporting 3rd cycle of river basin management planning (in prep.)