On May, 8th 2023, a workshop on ecological monitoring centered around « Establishing nutrient concentrations to support good ecological status & assessing the ecological potential in heavily modified water bodies according to the Water Framework Directive » was held in Batumi, Georgia.
The workshop was attended by 13 Georgian Biologists and Chemists from the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Water Biodiversity Department, Batumi and from the Atmospheric Air, Water and Soil Laboratory, Tbilisi. All of them are involved in the performance of the harmonization of the surveillance monitoring of the Georgian coastal and transitional waters with the EU Water Framework Directive. The workshop featured opening and closing remarks by Ms Marina Mgeladze, Head of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Water Biodiversity Department of the National Environment Agency of Georgia.
The one-day workshop included sessions on the harmonization of nutrient thresholds with biological quality elements thresholds, on the assessment of the ecological potential in coastal heavily modified water bodies (HMWBs), and a discussion on coastal and transitional water monitoring results obtained during the 2022 survey. This last discussion set the groundwork for a transitional water monitoring survey which is taking place this week.
During the previous EUWI+ project, the coastal strip from Sarpi (Border to Turkey) to Kobuleti (two surveys, including also Chorokhi estuary) was monitored. Now, under the EU4Environment Water and Data programme, experts are monitoring the remaining part of the coastal trip, from Kobuleti to Anaklia, including transitional waters of the Supsa, Rioni and Enguri Rivers, as well as the Paliastomi lake. These surveys have several purposes, first to collect data in particular water bodies for the setup of draft thresholds, second to apply multiparametric indices suitable for the Black Sea, and third to assess the ecological status of investigated coastal and transitional water bodies.
During the workshop hold in Batumi on the 8th of May, two topics have been covered.
- The first one was about the problem how to harmonize nutrient thresholds with the status of biological quality elements (especially with Phytoplankton). The Joint Research Center Ecostat approach on this problem was explained and the Nutrient toolkit presented. Different Toolkit linear and categorical models were presented. A copy of the Toolkit was handed over to the workshop participants to perform the same calculations based on existing data for the coastal zone in Georgia.
- The second topic was about the ecological potential which has to be assessed in artificial (AWB) and heavily modified water bodies (HMWB) instead of the ecological status. During this discussion, the difference between natural and artificial and heavily modified water bodies was considered, the stepwise approach for the designation of artificial and heavily modified water bodies was shown and some typical changes of the hydromorphological quality elements due to physical alterations in the coastal zone demonstrated. Further the differences between the ecological status and the ecological potential was discussed as well as the problem of the Maximum Ecological Potential (MEP) assessment. Based on the example of a harbour, as an identified HMWB, the MEP assessment was demonstrated with two methods (HMWB restoration measures method and “closest comparable” surface type method).
At the end of the workshop, some minor identified gaps from the first Kobuleti – Anaklia survey have been discussed as well as the draft results of the survey which indicate a relatively good status of the investigated water bodies. The final assessment of the ecological status will be calculated after data evaluation of the second coastal and transitional water survey (currently in progress).