Deliverable 1.5

Abstract: Overview of practical climate adaptation strategies in European freshwaters at sub-catchment and local scales

Climate change has been linked to changes in flows, water levels, nutrient cycles, availability of toxic substances, oxygen regimes and a number of biological features such as physiology, phenology, species distributions, and interspecific interactions. Projected future climate change will undoubtedly result in even more dramatic shifts in the states of many aquatic ecosystems. Managing water resources and aquatic ecosystems in the face of uncertain climate requires new approaches. The focus of management and restoration will need to shift from (historic) references to potential future ecosystem services, and from reactive measures towards pro-active ones. Strategic adaptive management based on potential future climate impact scenarios will need to become a part of any action.  The objective of Deliverable 1.5 is to produce a practical guide to the most effective management strategies, applicable at sub-catchment and local scales, for use throughout Europe.Firstly, in REFRESH Deliverable 1.4 a list of sub-catchment and local scales adaptation measures was compiled for stream and rivers, and for lakes. The list was specified per climate region; Atlantic, boreal, alpine, continental, and Mediterranean. The list comprises measures that are normally being taken by local authorities/managers in different ecoregions and water types (for all kinds of purposes). To design a practical guide for water managers the scores were translated into a climate adaptation label per adaptation measure.Secondly, strategic adaptation measures aim to either improve resistance and resilience thus to enable persistence of aquatic ecosystems or to accept change and accommodate this. Therefore, three building blocks of a best practice framework for managing resilience in aquatic ecosystems were put into practice:

  1. the principles from resilience thinking (nine basic principles)
  2. the ecosystem approach (including the 5-S-Model and the DPSIRR chain)
  3. strategic adaptive management.

The three together compose a practical guide for strategic adaptive management for aquatic ecosystems.

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