Ecological status assessment of the rivers in Slovenia – an overview

Authors

  • Gorazd Urbanič Institute for Water of the Republic of Slovenia, Hajdrihova 28c, SI-1000 Ljubljana

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14720/ns.13.2.5-16

Keywords:

WFD, ecological status, benthic invertebrates, hydromorphology, heavily modified water bodies, ecological potential, Drava River

Abstract

Adoption of the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) includes ecological assessment of water bodies with biological communities. A WFD compliant ecological assessment includes ecological typology of water bodies, definition of reference conditions and classification system with five ecological classes. In this paper, an overview is given on the development of the ecological assessment system for Slovenian rivers. A special emphasis is laid on ecological river typology. 74 ecological river types were defined using bioregions or large rivers, and nine natural environmental descriptors recognised in literature as being important for river community composition in Slovenia. The rivers’ ecological status is assessed based on two biological elements, phytobenthos and macrophytes, and on benthic invertebrates, whereas an assessment system for fish is still under development. Phytoplankton rarely occurs in Slovenian rivers; therefore phytoplankton-based assessment systems were not developed. The Slovenian river classification system consists of three modules with pressure-specific assessment methods. The impact of three groups of pressures is assessed: organic pollution (saprobity), nutrient load (eutrophication) and hydromorphological alterations/general degradation. Phytobenthos and macrophytes are used to assess river saprobic and trophic status, whereas benthic invertebrates are used to assess saprobity and impact of hydromorphological alteration/general degradation. In our study, the impact of hydromorphological alterations of the Drava River was assessed using benthic invertebrates. A Slovenian multimetric index SMEIH was calculated at fifteen sampling sites. Good to bad ecological status was assessed. Moreover, at most sites within the Heavily Modified Water Bodies of the Drava River, good ecological potential was not achieved. In conclusion, mitigation measures are needed on the Drava River in order to achieve objectives of the Water Framework Directive.

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Published

30.12.2011

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Section

Scientific paper

How to Cite

Urbanič, G. (2011). Ecological status assessment of the rivers in Slovenia – an overview. Natura Sloveniae, 13(2), 5-16. https://doi.org/10.14720/ns.13.2.5-16

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