, Volume 540, Issue 1–3, pp 29–45 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal patterns of water quality along the estuarine salinity gradient of the Scheldt estuary (Belgium and The Netherlands): results of an integrated monitoring approach

  • Stefan Van Damme
  • Eric Struyf
  • Tom Maris
  • Tom Ysebaert
  • Frank Dehairs
  • Micky Tackx
  • Carlo Heip
  • Patrick Meire


This paper presents the results of 7 years of integrated monitoring along the Scheldt estuary. The combination of two datasets resulted in a full description of the estuaries water quality parameters from the mouth to the upper boundary, including an extended fresh water tidal part. A synthesis of the monitoring results and all relevant ecological knowledge on the Scheldt allowed to identify opportunities to optimize its management. The results show that the effect of discharge on salinity has a distinct maximum in the polyhaline to mesohaline transition area. Oxygen conditions, nitrogen removal and phytoplankton regulation can be enhanced and improved through management measures within the estuary. To lower carbon and phosphorous loads however measures should be taken within the catchment. To restore most of its ecological functions the estuary needs more space. Optimal locations to address specific functions can be derived from the monitoring results.


ecosystem management estuary nutrients water quality phytoplankton 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Van Damme
    • 1
  • Eric Struyf
    • 1
  • Tom Maris
    • 1
  • Tom Ysebaert
    • 2
  • Frank Dehairs
    • 3
  • Micky Tackx
    • 4
  • Carlo Heip
    • 2
  • Patrick Meire
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Ecosystem Management Research GroupUniversity of AntwerpWilrijkBelgium
  2. 2.Centre for Estuarine and Marine EcologyNetherlands Institute of Ecology(NIOO-KNAW)YersekeThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Analytical ChemistryVrije Universiteit BrusselBelgium
  4. 4.UPS – CNRS, Laboratoire d’Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes LEH - FRE 2630ToulouseFrance

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