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2.2.1        Ecological status

Ecological status or potential is an assessment of the quality of the structure and functioning of surface water ecosystems. It shows the influence of all pressures, like pollution, habitat degradation, hydrological changes and others in rivers, lakes, transitional waters and coastal waters. Ecological status is based on biological quality elements and supporting physico-chemical and hydromorphological quality elements.

On a European scale, around 44 % of the surface water bodies are in good or high ecological status or potential, with lakes and coastal waters having better status than rivers and transitional waters[1]. There has been limited change in ecological status since the first RBMPs were reported, although this comparison is difficult to make since the data underpinning the 1st RBMPs was of much lower quality than the data for the 2nd RBMPs. The status of many individual quality elements that make up ecological status is generally better than the ecological status as a whole. The analysis shows that the ecological status of some biological quality elements has improved from the first to the second RBMPs.

[1] Compared to the results in EEA (2018) there is an increase in the proportion of surface water bodies with high or good ecological status (from 40 % to 44 %) due to better than average ecological status in the extra included countries (Greece, Ireland, Lithuania and Norway). See also

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