PROJECT Integrating ecological status and ecosystem services to design and prioritize management measures (EESAM)


Agència Catalana de l´Aigua (ACA)




Institut Català de Recerca de l'Aigua (ICRA)


Dr. Vicenç Acuña


Dr. Sergi Sabater - Dr. Lluís Corominas - Dr. Joaquim Comas - Dr. Dídac Jordà


127.422.- Eur

Integrating ecological status and ecosystem services to design and prioritize management measures (EESAM)


Most planning and management strategies for freshwater ecosystems present difficulties when identifying the main pressures on river basins, which in turn determine the ecological status of water bodies. The study and interpretation of this cause-effect relationships between pressures and ecological status are fundamental to lay out adequate management strategies and justify the investments associated with the Plan of Measures (PoM) within a River Basin Management Plan (RBMP), as contemplated by the Water Framework Directive (WFD). This management measures generally only consider the benefits of ecological status improvements, but they ignore the effects on ecosystem services, and this, the associated social and economic benefits.

In this context, EESAM proposes to develop a decision support system (DSS) to be applied to Catalonian’s Inner Basins, with the purpose of determining the impacts on ecological status and ecosystem services based on the existent pressures in the system. This DSS will allow to identify and prioritize the management measures which provide the best benefits-costs relation, considering the ecological benefits (ecological status) as well as the social and economic ones (ecosystem services).

The DSS will be based on geographical information systems (QGIS) and calculus (R) free software, and it will include an easy-to-use interface to communicate with the user. Within the DSS, modelling of biophysical processes will be developed with the SWAT+ software, which will predict changes in hydrology, biogeochemical processes and erosion/transport of sediment. On the other hand, information regarding multiple stressors of ecological status and the socioeconomical model will be incorporated with QGIS and R.

Additionally, when advising on the different management measures, the DSS will also contemplate the degree of social acceptance from the different stakeholders involved in the process. This social assessment will be implemented with surveying the local population and revising ACA’s participation processes, which will shed knowledge on the opinion of the stakeholders on the PoM’s measures.



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