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Good Ecological Potential of Waterways Methodological considerations in a measures-oriented approach
A large part of waterways is provisionally designated as heavily modified water bodies because of their intensive use and associated hydro-morphological alterations. In addition, many canals are artificial water bodies. Unlike in the case of natural surface water bodies, there is no nation-wide research nor are there uniform methods for identifying good ecological potential, which is the management objective for this specific category under the European Water Framework Directive. That is why a method for deducing and identifying “good ecological potential” pursuant to the measures-oriented Prague approach was developed, which basically comprises the following four steps: grouping the State and Federal waterways in the Elbe River basin into case groups, selecting specific combinations of ecological measures for these case groups, forecasting the abiotic framework for good ecological potential after implementation of these measures, and describing good ecological potential for all biological quality components (macrozoobenthos, fish, macrophytes and phytoplankton). Basically speaking, this method which was specifically developed for and applied to the waterways in the Elbe River basin can be applied to other river basins or to heavily modified or artificial water bodies.
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