| Project objectives:
The coastal zone is under heavy pressure from land-based activities. Traditionally scientific research and governments have treated catchments and coasts
as separate entities. However, they should in fact be treated as an integrated whole, encompassing both environmental and socioeconomic and political systems.
The EuroCat project was established across seven regional case studies, combining natural and social science to:
- Identify the impacts on the coast
- Interface biophysical catchment and coastal models with socio-economic models
- Develop regional environmental change scenarios (2001-2020)
- Link scenarios with the modelling toolbox to evaluate plausible futures
- Evaluate the research outcomes with regional boards consisting of stakeholders and policy makers.
The seven case studies are located in river basins covering all coastal types in Europe (with the exception of fjords) as well as different socio-economic settings.
They include the Po, Humber, Rhine, Elbe, Vistula, Axios, Provadijska and Idrijca.
Eutrophication and in one case pollution (metals) were identified as major issues for the coastal zone. Existing, locally available modelling tools and
data sets were used in the project. The results showed that even for the most stringent and plausible environmental protection scenarios, eutrophication
will remain a problem affecting the ecosystem and economic resources such as, tourism and mussel farming. Strategies to combat eutrophication which included
managed realignment and/or wetland creation schemes, together with improved water treatment programmes, or agricultural zoning and regime modifications
were, however, much more effective, in the UK and The Netherlands scenarios.
The regional analyses differ in their complexity and comprehensiveness depending on the type of catchment studied and the strengths of the individual research
teams. EUROCAT set out to investigate different catchment-coastal situations both from a biogeochemical perspective and socio-economic and cultural perspectives.
The overall project also aimed to test different evaluation methods e.g. cost-effectiveness, economic cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria analysis.