Application and sensitivity testing of a eutrophication assessment method on coastal systems in the United States and European Union

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The Assessment of Estuarine Trophic Status (ASSETS) screening model has been extended to allow its application to both estuarine and coastal systems. The model, which combines elements of pressure, state and response, was tested on four systems: Maryland Coastal Bays and Long Island Sound in the United States and The Firth of Clyde (Scotland) and Tagus Estuary (Portugal) in the European Union. The overall scores were: Maryland Coastal Bays: Bad; Firth of Clyde: Poor; Tagus Estuary: Good. Long Island Sound was modelled along a timeline, using 1991 data (score: Bad) and 2002 data (score: Moderate). The improvement registered for Long Island Sound is a consequence of the reduction in nutrient loading, and the ASSETS score changed accordingly. The two main areas where developments are needed are (a) In the definition of type-specific ranges for eutrophication parameters, due to the recognition that natural or pristine conditions may vary widely, and the use of a uniform set of thresholds artificially penalizes some systems and potentially leads to misclassification; (b) In the definition and quantification of measures which will result in an improved state through a change in pressures, as well as in the definition of appropriate metrics through which response may be assessed. One possibility is the use of detailed research models where different response scenarios potentially produce changes in pressure and state. These outputs may be used to drive screening models and analyze the suitability of candidate metrics for evaluating management options.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)433-445
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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