Ecological Quality Ratios for Ecological Quality Assessment in Inland and Marine Waters

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The REBECCA project focuses on establishing quantitative relationships between physicochemical and hydromorphological pressures and biological indicators. One of the major applications of such relationships is to support the establishment of WFD compliant assessment and classification methods. All EU Member States are required to establish such methods for the different biological quality elements (phytoplankton, benthic macroinvertebrates, fish, macrophytes, etc.).

This short Deliverable addresses the issue: What is a WFD compliant assessment method? This is done by focusing on the concept of the Ecological Quality Ratio (EQR). The EQR incorporates the key WFD requirements for ecological classification: typology, reference conditions, and class boundary setting. The Deliverable is targeted both to the policy makers and competent authorities implementing the Water Framework Directive and the scientists supporting them with their specific knowledge.
The following issues are addressed:

• Ecological Quality Ratios in the Water Framework Directive (Chapter 1);
• Typology, reference conditions, and class boundary setting (Chapter 2);
• Uncertainty in EQR based assessments (Chapter 3);
• Discussion on the practical application of EQRs (Chapter 5)
• a checklist summing up criteria for WFD compliant classification systems (Chapter 5)

Most of this Deliverable was written by Wouter van de Bund (JRC-IES); Chapter 3 addressing uncertainty in EQR based assessments was written by Angelo Solimini JRC-IES). The authors thank Mike Dunbar (CEH) for providing valuable comments to Chapter 3. The views expressed are purely those of the authors and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission.

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