Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Minimising negative impact on river basin ecosystems

Global climate changes and detrimental human activities associated with rising populations near natural water supplies have had disastrous effects on wetlands and aquatic ecosystems adjacent to river basins (fluvial ecosystems, or those related to flowing water). In response, water-sediment-soil system (WASS) modelling has increased rapidly in recent years.
Minimising negative impact on river basin ecosystems
The ‘Integrated decision support system for risk assessment and management of the water-sediment-soil system at river basin scale in fluvial ecosystems’ (Ramwass) project was designed to develop an innovative decision support system (DSS) for risk assessment and management of fluvial regions.

The researchers developed essential technologies for monitoring and analysing environmental and geophysical data from various sources. The investigators tested the technologies in three aquatic and wetland ecosystems adjacent to river basins in Germany, Spain and Italy.

The researchers created a database of information collected from the case studies as well as a DSS to support rational decision making under various scenarios. The DSS included consideration of wind, infiltration and evaporation water losses as well as rainfall input. The researchers also developed a set of guidelines and recommendations for hazard assessment in fluvial ecosystems with proposals for future enhancements.

In summary, the Ramwass project contributed innovative technologies and a DSS-enabling enhanced evaluation of ecological impact of hazards and design of effective responses for ecosystems adjacent to river basins. The tools should also prove useful to public authorities and emergency services in risk assessment, prevention, mitigation and remediation regarding hazards to fluvial ecosystems.

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