To achieve the proposed objectives, the multidisciplinary scientific knowledge in the partnership was combined and integrated with the knowledge and views of local stakeholders, using a participatory approach. With this innovative approach, they developed integrated scenarios of future possible economic development and environmental impacts in four selected European coastal lagoons. These case study lagoons represent a set of “hotspot” coastal lagoons with a wide and balanced geographical distribution and different characteristics. The lagoons included are: Vistula Lagoon in Baltic Sea (a transboundary water between Poland and Russia); Tyligulskyi Liman Lagoon in Black Sea (Ukraine); Ria de Aveiro Lagoon in Atlantic Ocean (Portugal), and Mar Menor in the Mediterranean Sea (Spain).
Coastal lagoons constitute important buffering zones between catchments and sea with respect to water quantity and quality. Due to this fact, they are subject to multiple stressors and have to cope with upstream loads and downstream influence from marine boarder, but also with weather events, meaning that many drivers of pressures occurring within coastal lagoons, which integrate land-based and marine boundaries, influence their ecological and environmental status. Moreover, climate change combined with intense human activity imposes additional stress, and these disturbances occur concurrently over a range of spatial and temporal scales. In general, the frequency of extreme hydrological events is expected to increase and this will affect all natural and man-made systems as well as human well-being.
The environmental issue of concern of the LAGOONS project is the anthropogenic deterioration and climate change impacts – especially the effects of extreme weather events- on surface water and lagoons ecosystems.
LAGOONS aimed to provide (i) pan-European management perspectives from various angles and methodological frameworks as well as the overall strategy recommendations from the four case studies, and (ii) set of policy guidelines derived from the different analyses conducted in the project and proposes initiatives concerning management implementation in the case study areas all given in a local-regional-national-European setting.
The potential policy impact is in the formulation of future strategies to formulate sustainable strategies for coastal lagoons and other ecosystems. It has been demonstrated that the three-stage participatory methodology used in the project could be successfully utilised in a number of different geographical, political and administrative contexts. Further development of the method could lead to the introduction of a methodology for European ecosystems that involves stakeholder and the public in the decision-making and implementation processes, processes based on informed input and recommendations.
An online GIS knowledge base has been created and can be accessed in the following address http://webgis.no/lagoons.
This platform contains a short description of the four case study lagoons (both in English and in each case study local language); digital maps gathered or produced during the project, namely from the science knowledge; diagrams; useful links to other existing platforms; and photo galleries.
The GIS is developed in Open layers, which gives a user friendly, easy-to-learn application. The digital maps can cover the entire catchment to coast area (e.g. soil, land use, topography) or be more specific for the lagoon area (e.g. habitats, human activities). Results from the developed scenarios are also available as pdf-maps, illustrating e.g. the changes in land use, nutrient loads and water management.
From this platform it is also possible to download relevant information regarding each case study lagoon, namely: full reports about the current knowledge and knowledge gaps analysis for each case study lagoon (in English); and shorter versions technical briefs, also for each case study lagoon, both in English and in local language.
The main objective of the project is to contribute to a science-based seamless strategy of the management of lagoons seen under the land-sea and science-policy-stakeholder interface; i.e., the project seek to underpin the integration of the EU Water Framework Directive, Habitat Directive, the EU’s ICZM Recommendation, and the EU Marine Strategy Directive.
The major potential policy impact of the project is therefore in the combination of participatory methods used, and their ability to meet the expectations of EU policy for stakeholder and public participation in the environmental policy process.
The coastal lagoons have always attracted humans and supported their associated activities. The natural capital of coastal lagoons, including the variety of ecosystem services and biodiversity are therefore essential for human well-being. In addition, coastal lagoons provide well-being not only to the people living around the lagoon but also to people living in inland areas, who may also be dependent on the trade and use of goods and services.
LAGOONS project focused on an increased understanding of land to sea processes and the science-policy-stakeholder interface, all in the context of climate change, considering that (i) the successful management of coastal lagoons is dependent not only on scientific knowledge but also on the governance systems in which this knowledge is applied, and (ii) the importance of the interface between science, policy and stakeholders (including the citizens).
stakeholders’ participation from the onset of the project, including an analysis of laws, policies and institutions;
scenario-building and modelling approaches to try and forecast the combined state of the four case study lagoons and its drainage basin, taking into account observed and anticipated changes in climate;
applied the methodologies in the four case lagoons that support for Pan-European integration through a bottom-up approach
All the project documents and deliverables are available for downloading the project website: http://lagoons.biologiaatua.net/?page_id=702