International intercalibration of quality class boundaries of lake and river types

Started at 2003- ongoing project.
Financed by: Estonian Ministry of Environment
Project manager: professor Ingmar Ott

Main goal of the project is assistance of implementation of EU Water Framework Directive. According to that all inland water bodies should acheieve at least good ecological status at 2015. Different stages have been established.  The first was to create typology of water bodies. The frames of evaluation of ecological status is followed. After all, in current project, the most important goal is the creation of classification of ecological status in cooperation with EU member states. On the scientific bases, the scale for estimation of ecological quality is attempted to establish. Involved experts present, discuss and defend Estonian positions in the process of creation of classification.
Europe is divided into several ecoregions. At the beginning Estonia with Latvia and Lithuania belonged to the Baltic Ecoregion, which is now merged to Central one. Actively, 12 countries are involved (beside mentioned countries also Poland, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Belgium).
 Every participating country has finished there typology. Three lake and four river types have been selected for intercalibration as common types. Common lake types are: shallow with average hardness, very shallow with average hardness and lakes with soft light water (so called Lobelia lakes). River types take into account size and geological features. Water quality scale is divided into five classes between high and very bad. So far in creation of classification of lakes phytoplankton and macrophyte parameters have been used from biotic and content of nutrients, hydromorphological features from abiotic ones. Phytobenthos, macroinvertebrates and abiotic parameters are used in rivers.
 Different methods have been tested to find ecological arguments for defining borders of quality classes. Interactions between biological parameters are taken into account.  Information on reactions to the pressures from catchment area could be different, if to take parameters separately or jointly. Indicator species and communities are searched, reacting directly and permanently to the enrichment with nutrients. Also working out of common indices of ecological status based on biotic data are in process.
 Classification based on common principles will be created on the bases of results of intercalibration. The next stage will be to develop the measures for improvement of ecological status of water bodies.

Cooperation: Expert organisations of mentioned qountries, which belong or are in contract with Ministries of Environment. In Estonia, also Tallinn Technical University, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Institute of Environmental Engineering is involved, who is responsible for analyses of abiotic parameters.