SedNet Round Table
On the 22nd
and 23rd of November 2006 SedNet held a round-table
discussion in Venice, Italy, entitled "Sediment
Management - an Essential Part of River Basin Management
Plans". The full report can be
downloaded from this website. You can also order
copies of the report from the
Sediment is an essential, integral and
dynamic part of our river basins. Where human activities
interfere with sediment quantity or quality, sediment
management becomes necessary. One of SedNet’s main
recommendations is to integrate sustainable sediment
management into the European Water Framework Directive
related policy, legislation, and implementation process.
This is to achieve good ecological status, or potential,
and at the same time to support the well being of the
Central to the EU Water Framework
Directive (WFD) are River Basin Management Plans, which
have to be produced and published by 2009. Until now
sediment related issues have played a minor role in the
Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) process. SedNet
aims at providing scientific and user oriented input
into the WFD implementation phase.
On the basis of this background,
SedNet organised a 2-day Round Table Discussion (RT)
under the title "Sediment management – an essential
element of River Basin Management Plans". The objective
was to derive generic and specific recommendations for
sediment management based on experiences in selected key
river basins taking into account legal requirements,
needs of users and scientific advice.
The Round Table Discussion brought
together delegates from European river commissions, user
groups, and scientists. The river basins represented
were the Danube, Douro, Elbe, Humber and Rhine. Some of
the uses discussed were aggregate dredging for the
construction industry; agricultural use of grassland in
floodplains; dredging for navigation purposes; drinking
water supply; hydropower generation; etc.
The participants concluded that
sediment management is an issue in all 5 river basins.
Each river basin has specific natural characteristics,
uses, history, challenges. It became evident that until
now the WFD thinking is very ‘fluvial’.
Sediment quantity and quality issues are closely
interrelated and can not be separated. Sediment
management in terms of quality and quantity should
receive due attention in River Basin Management Plans.
To develop such a plan can be challenging taking into
consideration the requirements of different European and
national legislation. Also EU Policies may create
An adaptive management approach is required; there is
not a one-size-fits-all solution, it has to be
tailor-made to the specific situation. Estuaries are
different from rivers and require adequate attention. It
is important to make use of experience from other river
basins and to develop common basic approaches.
There is a need for wide recognition that the current
“at risk” classification within the WFD is a screening
level, which should trigger spatial discrimination,
further study of effects and tests of the significance
of impacts. This requires an integrated thinking about
rivers and transitional waters.
Also future research will be necessary. There is a need
to collate available data to identify knowledge gaps and
enhance understanding, linking sediment management to
environmental and climate change issues.
The Round Table concluded that achieving good ecological
status requires a proper attention to sediment issues,
with an awareness of natural variation and differences
between river basins.
The outcome of the Round Table will be
used to inform River Basin Managers, key players and
users, and the European Commission for the further
implementation process of the WFD.