Status and Causal Pathway Assessments Supporting River Basin Management

Ohe, Peter C.; Apitz, Sabine E.; Arbačiauskas, Kęstutis; Beketov, Mikhail A.; Borchardt, Dietrich; Zwart, Dick; Goedkoop, Willem; Hein, Michaela; Hellsten, Seppo; Hering, Daniel; Kefford, Ben J.; Panov, Vadim E.; Schäfer, Ralf B.; Segner, Helmut; Gils, Jos; Vegter, Joop J.; Wetzel, Markus A.; Brack, Werner (2014). Status and Causal Pathway Assessments Supporting River Basin Management. In: Risk-Informed Management of European River Basins. The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry: Vol. 29 (pp. 53-149). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer 10.1007/978-3-642-38598-8_3

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The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires a status assessment of all water bodies. If that status is deteriorated, the WFD urges the identification of its potential causes in order to be able to suggest appropriate management measures. The instrument of investigative monitoring allows for such identification, provided that appropriate tools are available to link the observed effects to causative stressors, while unravelling confounding factors. In this chapter, the state of the art of status and causal pathway assessment is described for the major stressors responsible for the deterioration of European water bodies, i.e. toxicity, acidification, salinisation, eutrophication and oxygen depletion, parasites and pathogens, invasive alien species, hydromorphological degradation, changing water levels as well as sediments and suspended matter. For each stressor, an extensive description of the potential effects on the ecological status is given. Secondly, stressor-specific abiotic and biotic indicators are described that allow for a first indication of probable causes, based on the assessment of available monitoring data. Subsequently, more advanced tools for site-specific confirmation of stressors at hand are discussed. Finally, the local status assessments are put into the perspective of the risk for downstream stretches in order to be able to prioritise stressors and to be able to select appropriate measures for mitigation of the risks resulting from these stressors.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Center for Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI)

UniBE Contributor:

Segner, Helmut


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry






Susanne Portner

Date Deposited:

25 Jul 2014 14:11

Last Modified:

25 Jul 2014 14:11

Publisher DOI:



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