INHABIT project

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Home Themes & Results

INHABIT Themes & Results

Project management (M)
The project management by the coordinating beneficiary will ensure that the actions conducted by 4 beneficiaries will lead to meeting the project objectives described below. For this purpose, CNR-IRSA will organise and monitor: the work flow in the sense of an effective implementation of the actions and of their successful cooperation; the submission, storage and dissemination of reports, data and Deliverables; the scientific analyses of the data; the dissemination of information.

Preparatory project phase (P) – Review of approaches and methods, selection of methods, protocols and study sites
Firstly, we deal with the review of approaches and methods used in the preparation of river basin plans in the study areas. In this context, a review of large and local-scale monitoring approaches and methods in use in Italy to derive information for preparing WFD river basin management plans, as far as classification issues are concerned, will be performed. Based on the overall information derived, reference and degraded sites for field investigation will be selected.
Also, the selection of methods and protocols for the project wil be performed. Special focus will be placed on methods for deriving hydro-morphological and habitat information, to be used in the project to improve the implementation potential of WFD management plans.

Assessment of environmental and biological condition and variability (I1)
Two main issues are concerned here: collection of data in the field and their first analysis. On the basis of the results achieved from the group of action P, field sampling will be performed for the collection of biological, chemical and hydro-morphological data in different water bodies, belonging to two types of each of the investigated areas (in Sardinia and Piedmont). Samples will be collected in reference (i.e. nearly-natural sites) and degraded sites, in different seasons. As well, the biological samples collected will require a more detailed level of investigation and approach for sampling, usually not carried out for routine monitoring.

Relationship between nutrients, community and environmental conditions (I2)
The interaction between nutrients, local hydro-morphology, habitat conditions and biological community will be investigated, for both rivers and lakes. Three major paths of nutrient pollutants to European freshwaters can be considered: point sources, diffuse pollution from agricultural sites and atmospheric deposition of nitrogen compounds derived from air pollutants. On the basis of data gained in the group of actions P, we will evaluate the relative importance of point and non-point sources of nitrogen and phosphorous for each of the study catchment and examine the relationships between catchment features (land use, topography, landscape configuration), reach features and nutrient loadings.

Proposal of innovative measures for river basin management plans (I3)
Because Biological Quality Elements mainly respond to local-scale, habitat-mediated factors and not to large-scale, geo-morphological features, an obvious consequence, is that the habitat and local hydro-morphological scale is highly pertinent for correctly interpreting biotic response to restoration actions. It is unmistakable that catchment-scale processes are crucial in long term planning i.e. even well beyond the 6-years time scale of management plans, but such spatial scale must be accompanied by more local, biotic-relevant information. Regrettably, the relationships between hydromorphological and biological parameters are usually not clearly established and their link to the quality of the water bodies is merely speculative. The main aim of this Group of actions is to propose integrative measures to river basin plans that can be easily implemented, by looking at a closer detail to water body hydro-morphology and habitat structure.

Demonstration actions on classification and uncertainty (D1)
In this action group, firstly we will apply in the study areas the most up to date methods for classification available for Italian aquatic ecosystems. Subsequently, we will define a common set of key statistical metrics based on both scientific literature and WFD text and guidance, comparing the results of different techniques for uncertainty estimation and evaluating the influence of classification uncertainty on RBMPs and Programmes of Measures.
Effects on habitat conditions similar to those related to natural flow variability can be due to water use and management, also finally resulting on a potentially strong modification of instream or lake hydro-morphological conditions. Natural and/or man-induced variability can therefore jointly affect both sites in reference conditions and degraded ones, which need to be classified, so that its effects on water body classification (and uncertainty) is difficult to foresee. This aspect will be also considered.

Demonstration actions in regions not directly covered by the project (D2)
This action group deals with a pilot application of global approaches developed within the project to other sample river basins in regions not directly included in the field study areas. With this action water authorities directly dealing with the definition of RBMPs will be involved.
The items we intend to transfer are especially related to the following topics: methods for collecting and analyzing biological communities; methods for characterizing hydro-morphological and habitat features including selected aspects of basin scale hydromorphological assessment; relationships between biological communities and environmental features, based on practical adjustment to real circumstances; influence of such relationships in ecological status classification; prioritisation of key elements use when assessing ecological status of water bodies.

Communication and dissemination of results (DI)
Dissemination will be achieved according to the timetable of project milestones and deliverables. Information will be disseminated among beneficiaries, EC commission, Italian Authorities and Agencies, other countries and international institutions using different large-scale means: this web-site; technical and scientific reports, such as a Layman’s report; scientific papers in international scientific journals. Moreover, a specialized meeting with a filed training will be organized for Italian interested stakeholders, such as e.g. environmental agencies and river Authorities. A National conference will be held at the end of the project for a wider dissemination of results.

INHABIT summary Timetable

Inhabit Timetable