Hydrography (EO7)

EO7 Hydrography

Alteration of hydrographic conditions does not adversely affect coastal and marine ecosystems.

Key Messages:

  • The location and extent of the habitats impacted directly by hydrographic alterations (CI 15) reviewed existing information on marine habitats which may be affected or disturbed by changes in hydrographic conditions (currents, waves, suspended sediment loads) due to new developments. There is no sufficient data to derive conclusions/observe trends on regional, sub-regional or even national level.   
  • The EO7 CI 15 considers marine habitats which may be affected or disturbed by changes in hydrographic conditions (currents, waves, suspended sediment loads) due to new developments.  Identifying the priority benthic habitats for consideration in EO7 together assessment of impacts, including cumulative impacts, is a cross-cutting issue of high priority for EO1 and EO7. In addition, effort needs to be given to detect the cause-consequence relationship between hydrographic alterations due to new structures and habitat deterioration.
  • The national monitoring in Mediterranean countries regarding EO7 has not been initiated yet (except for the Contracting Parties that are EU member states, and their obligation of implementing Descriptor 7 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive), or it is just being initiated.  There is a need for more rigorous monitoring as to be able to undertake regional and sub-regional assessments whilst there is evidence of impact of coastal developments, mainly based on European studies. Such an integrated assessment of impacts calls for additional research efforts on habitat modeling, pressure mapping and cumulative impacts, along with monitoring of potentially affected areas.
  • Assessments that estimate the extent of hydrographic alterations (knowing conditions before and after construction) and its intersection with marine habitats are currently rare in the Mediterranean, except for some local studies of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) /Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). There is certainly a lack of hydrographic data with detailed temporal and spatial scale in the Mediterranean Sea (bathymetric data, seafloor topography, current velocity, wave exposure, turbidity, salinity, temperature, etc.), which is one of the main challenges to implement this indicator, in particular to define the base-line conditions. To identify these gaps, a clear inventory of existing and available data in Mediterranean Sea should be done. Other difficulties come from the use of numerical model to assess hydrographic alterations before the structure is built.

Regular reporting for all Ecological Objectives should be established/strengthened.