Groundwater-Dependent Wetlands in the UK and Ireland: Controls, Functioning and Assessing the Likelihood of Damage from Human Activities
Under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) the requirement for ‘good groundwater status’ is dependent upon there being no ‘significant damage’ to groundwater-dependent terrestrial ecosystems, i.e. groundwater-dependent wetlands. An ecohydrogeological framework was developed to assess the risk of significant damage for groundwater-dependent terrestrial ecosystems in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The framework will be used by the competent authorities implementing the WFD as a decision support system to apply the WFD guidelines on a local to regional basis. The framework considers the variety of groundwater controls and pathways of different wetland types and allows a specific assessment to be made of the vulnerability of different wetland types to groundwater related risks. Seven distinct wetland types were identified and the potential pressures were evaluated. A GIS framework was developed in order to analyse the spatial coincidence of potential risks to each wetland type. The framework was tested for a trial dataset of 10 groundwater controlled wetland ecosystems in England and Wales in order to evaluate their current risk of damage.
KeywordsWetlands Groundwater Risk Vulnerability Eco-hydrology Water framework directive
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