Integrated Monitoring in the Voordelta, The Netherlands: Monitoring and Data Management for Evaluation of Nature Compensation Measures

Integrated Monitoring in the Voordelta, The Netherlands: Monitoring and Data Management for Evaluation of Nature Compensation Measures

Niels Kinneging (Deltares, The Netherlands), Meinte Blaas (Deltares, The Netherlands), Arjen Boon (Deltares, The Netherlands), Kees Borst (Rijkswaterstaat, The Netherlands), Gerrit Hendriksen (Deltares, The Netherlands), Gerard Van der Kolff (Deltares, The Netherlands), Theo Prins (Deltares, The Netherlands) and Willem Stolte (Deltares, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0700-0.ch014
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Abstract

Monitoring of the environmental effects of a harbour extension and the compensation measures is a very complex task. The Voordelta area has high natural values, but is also of high economic importance. To implement a monitoring strategy for this area a multidisciplinary consortium has been formed, consisting of a number of institutes and companies. A central data management facility was set up for data storage and management. This chapter illustrates the data management approach using the Voordelta monitoring programme for the years 2004 to 2013. A central data management facility was set up for data storage and management. A repository gives access to raw data files to all team members. From the analysis of the raw data a number of information products have been developed and disseminated to the authorities and the public through Google Earth. It will be shown, that the presence of a strong multidisciplinary team and good collaboration is the key to success in this complex programme. The way the data have been managed supports this process enormously.
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Introduction

The last decades there is an increased awareness of the need for the protection of the marine environment. The European Commission (EC) has issued a number of directives that require EU member states to protect and restore marine biodiversity and habitats, to assess the impact of human activities on the marine environment and coastal and transitional waters and to regulate the human activities leading to deterioration of the marine environment. These directives are the Birds Directive (1979, amended in 2009) (European Parliament and Council, 2009), the Habitats Directive (Council of the European Communities, 1992), the Water Framework Directive (2000) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (European Parliament and Council, 2008). Furthermore the EC has established a network of protected areas, the Natura 2000 network.

The implementation of marine environmental policies requires a lot of data and information on the state of the environment and on trends in various parameters that describe the ecosystem. This is widely acknowledged in the last decades and initiatives for professional data management are being implemented. The same data dependence holds for marine projects in general, and data management should be an integral part of those projects.

The project taken below to illustrate the importance of data management in large monitoring projects revolved around the effectiveness of various nature compensation measures to compensate for the significant loss of marine habitat and foraging area protected under the Habitats Directive. This loss was caused by the second coastal expansion of the Port of Rotterdam.

To evaluate this compensation measure a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (MEP) was setup and monitoring was carried out. A part of the MEP was dedicated to the complex management of the streams, quality, formatting and access of data both during the project and afterwards.

This kind of MEP is multidisciplinary by nature and involves experts like ecologists, biologists, environmental chemists and physicists. A lot of data is gathered and must be combined to answer the evaluation questions. Key to successful co-operation in a multidisciplinary consortium is the generic and open availability of the data and project results for the consortium members. Data management is therefore indispensable in complex monitoring projects, like the one discussed in this chapter.

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