The health status of European aquatic environments, including transitional waters such as coastal lagoons, is regulated by the Water Framework Directive (WFD), which requires the classification of the water bodies' environmental quality and the achievement of a good ecological status by 2015. In the Venice lagoon, a transitional water body located in the northeastern part of Italy, the achievement of a good ecological status is hampered by several anthropogenic and natural pressures, such as sediment and water chemical contamination, and sediment erosion. In order to evaluate the lagoon's environmental quality according to the WFD (i.e. 5 quality classes, from High to Bad), an integrated Weight-of-Evidence methodology was developed and applied to classify the quality of the lagoon water bodies, integrating biological, physicochemical, chemical, ecotoxicological, and hydromorphological data (i.e. Lines of Evidence, LOE). The quality assessment was carried out in two lagoon habitat typologies (previously defined on the basis of morphological, sediment, and hydrodynamic characteristics) which were selected taking into account the ecological gradient from sea to land, and the differences in anthropogenic pressure and contamination levels. The LOE classification was carried out by using indicators scored by comparing site specific conditions to reference conditions measured in lagoon reference sites, or provided by local, national or European regulations (e.g. Environmental Quality Standards, EQS, for chemicals). Finally, the overall quality status for each water body was calculated by a probabilistic approach, i.e. by reporting the final result as the frequency distribution of quality classes. The developed procedure was applied by using data and information concerning selected LOE and collected from monitoring programs and research studies carried out in the last 15 years in the lagoon of Venice. A set of sampling stations characterized by spatially and temporally coherent information for each LOE was selected, and among these stations, potential reference sites for each water body typology were identified. The quality assessment highlighted that there are specific lagoon areas, especially those located near the industrially developed area, which are highly affected by anthropogenic activities, and that chemical contamination is one of the main pressures affecting ecological status (e.g. macro-benthonic biodiversity) in the Venice lagoon. The integrated quality assessment procedure that was developed provided a new tool supporting decision making, as well as lagoon assessment and management.

Environmental quality of transitional waters: the lagoon of Venice case study

GOTTARDO, Stefania;CRITTO, Andrea;MARCOMINI, Antonio
2011

Abstract

The health status of European aquatic environments, including transitional waters such as coastal lagoons, is regulated by the Water Framework Directive (WFD), which requires the classification of the water bodies' environmental quality and the achievement of a good ecological status by 2015. In the Venice lagoon, a transitional water body located in the northeastern part of Italy, the achievement of a good ecological status is hampered by several anthropogenic and natural pressures, such as sediment and water chemical contamination, and sediment erosion. In order to evaluate the lagoon's environmental quality according to the WFD (i.e. 5 quality classes, from High to Bad), an integrated Weight-of-Evidence methodology was developed and applied to classify the quality of the lagoon water bodies, integrating biological, physicochemical, chemical, ecotoxicological, and hydromorphological data (i.e. Lines of Evidence, LOE). The quality assessment was carried out in two lagoon habitat typologies (previously defined on the basis of morphological, sediment, and hydrodynamic characteristics) which were selected taking into account the ecological gradient from sea to land, and the differences in anthropogenic pressure and contamination levels. The LOE classification was carried out by using indicators scored by comparing site specific conditions to reference conditions measured in lagoon reference sites, or provided by local, national or European regulations (e.g. Environmental Quality Standards, EQS, for chemicals). Finally, the overall quality status for each water body was calculated by a probabilistic approach, i.e. by reporting the final result as the frequency distribution of quality classes. The developed procedure was applied by using data and information concerning selected LOE and collected from monitoring programs and research studies carried out in the last 15 years in the lagoon of Venice. A set of sampling stations characterized by spatially and temporally coherent information for each LOE was selected, and among these stations, potential reference sites for each water body typology were identified. The quality assessment highlighted that there are specific lagoon areas, especially those located near the industrially developed area, which are highly affected by anthropogenic activities, and that chemical contamination is one of the main pressures affecting ecological status (e.g. macro-benthonic biodiversity) in the Venice lagoon. The integrated quality assessment procedure that was developed provided a new tool supporting decision making, as well as lagoon assessment and management.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/4337
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