WP 5: Selecting sampling sites
To select a set of sampling sites of differing environmental character and assumed Ecological Status in order to incorporate both 'High' status reference sites and sites degraded to different degrees of severity.
The project consortium collectively will define the requirements of the sampling programme and the criteria for site selection. These will take account of the following considerations:
- The site types selected across the Member States of the consortium shall encompass a variety of morphological conditions, each represented by a variety of ecological conditions derived from a range of imposed stresses. These stresses shall include the categories 'Organic' (organic pollution and eutrophication), 'Habitat' (habitat degradation, stagnation and low flow) and 'Acidification', so as to be consistent with the AQEM project. For ease of initial analysis and model development, wherever possible, only one of these will be acting at each site.
- The sites shall include some that form the component parts other major assessment programmes (AQEM, RIVPACS, PERLA, and the system associated with the 'Freshwater Monitoring in Sweden' survey). This will provide the mechanism for establishing links between these projects and for establishing an understanding of temporal variation as part of the quantification of sources of variation associated with the assessment of Ecological Status. The availability of longterm monitoring data is a key-component for site selection.
- In general, the sampling programme will be restricted to certain 'stream types', since the WFD demands for stream type-specific assessment methods. We distinguish 'core stream types' and 'additional stream types'. Core stream types are widely distributed in Europe and an extensive sampling programme will be performed in STAR. Additional stream types are less widely distributed and the sampling programme will be restricted.
Core sites will be divided into two groups:
Core stream type 1: Small-sized, shallow, mountain streams. To be sampled in the United Kingdom (Ecoregion 18), Germany (Ecoregion 9), Austria (Ecoregion 9) and the Czech Republic (Ecoregions 9 and 10).
Additionally sampled by the NAS: Slovak Republic (Ecoregion 10).
Core stream type 2: Medium-sized, deeper, lowland streams. To be sampled in the United Kingdom (Ecoregions 18), Germany (Ecoregion 14), Denmark (Ecoregion 14) and Sweden (Ecoregion 14).
Additionally sampled by the NAS: Poland (Ecoregion 14 and 16) and Latvia (Ecoregion 15).
The additional stream types will finally be selected after the completion of Workpackages 3 and 4. They will mainly include stream types, on which little or nothing is known with the goal to extend existing assessment systems and databases. In general, it is planned to sample one or two additional stream types in most participating country.
Consortium members shall select a shortlist of sites to be sampled in their own member states, according to the site types and stresses allocated to it. The definitive list of sampling sites shall be selected by the consortium as a whole, being mindful of the need for a balanced range of sites, collectively meeting the criteria set out above.