Managing aquatic ecosystems and water resources under multiple stress

Rivers, lakes and wetlands are under intense pressure from human activities, such as  pollution and habitat degradation. The services that aquatic ecosystems can provide to society have been greatly reduced, and their biodiversity strongly affected, with several aquatic species disappearing from entire ecoregions.

In the past, rivers and lakes were largely impacted by strong, single pressures, such as organic pollution or acidification. More recently, complex mixes of pressures resulting from urban and agricultural land use, water power generation and climate change affect many aquatic systems. The interactions and impacts of such multiple pressures is poorly understood and documented.

This website provides new and important results for water managers and environmental policy makers across Europe. 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 Aquatic systems. The website provides access to different tools supporting river basin management planning, alongside a comprehensive knowledge base on single and multiple pressures, their impact (individually and combined) on aquatic ecosystems and services, and the potential of different management measures to mitigate their impacts.

The information presented on this website – which results from the EU FP7 MARS project – provides an invaluable resource for European water management.

It is designed to serve as an introductory gateway to complex topics surrounding the impacts 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.)