Marine monitoring and Natural England

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22 Φεβ 2014 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 3 μήνες)

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Marine monitoring and
Natural England


Gavin Black

Specialist
Marine
Monitoring

Gavin.black@naturalengland.org.uk


Plymouth Sound and the Tamar Estuaries
Complex

Overview



Natural England’s remit



Legislation and drivers



MPAs and reporting



Monitoring Plymouth’s features and
assessing condition





Natural England’s remit


Natural England is a non
-
departmental public body



We are Government’s Statutory adviser on the natural environment.



Provide advice on the marine environment to sea
-
users and
managers around England out to 12 nautical miles.




ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced and
managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby
contributing to sustainable development’
.



Lead role in monitoring and reporting on the state of an English MPA
network




Key legislative drivers and MPAs


Habitats Directive (1992) & Birds Directive (1979)


Natura

2000 network (SACs and SPAs)



OSPAR Convention (1992)


to establish a network of marine protected areas which is both
ecologically coherent and well
-
managed by 2016.



Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981)


Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)



Marine and Coastal Access Act (MACAA 2009)


Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs)



Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD 2008)


Wider marine environment

Conservation objectives & MPAs


The objective of English MPAs is to reach and
remain in
favourable condition


For European sites favourable condition is a site
-
specific expression of how a site contributes to
Favourable Conservation Status and whether
features are healthy


Described using attributes set by JNCC’s
Common Standards Monitoring guidance


Ecological attributes: extent, biotope
composition


Environmental attributes: water clarity,
sedimentation rate


Mandatory attributes for each feature plus
discretionary attributes


Targets relate to baselines at or near designation


Assessing England’s SAC features


Assessment in late 2012


Assessed 32 marine Special Areas of
Conservation (SCI)


85 habitats & 155 sub
-
features assessed


734 habitat attributes assessed


1350 sources of evidence used


internal
monitoring reports and external literature and
data


Other information included WFD monitoring
outputs and assessments


Resources have increased but we can only
monitor a proportion of attributes per year




Need to prioritise




Paul Kay

Considerations in targeting monitoring effort

-

to support adaptive management


Risk from anthropogenic impact:


Sensitivity of features to potential pressures


Exposure to potential pressures, existing
management & future threats



Age / quality of existing data sets



Natural temporal variability



Constraints / opportunities:


Reporting requirements e.g. 6 year cycle


Survey logistics
-

integration with other
programmes
















A working solution...


Auditable, repeatable, syntax driven,
process, supported by Access database















Special Area of Conservation (SAC)


The Plymouth Sound and Estuaries SAC is
regarded to be of international conservation
importance due to diverse salinity conditions,
sedimentary and reef habitats. The wide
variety of habitats gives rise to communities
representative of
ria

systems with unusual
features, such as populations of
Mediterranean and Atlantic species rarely
found in British waters.



1110

Sandbanks which are slightly
covered by sea water all the time



1130

Estuaries



1160

Large shallow inlets and bays



1170

Reefs



1330

Atlantic salt meadows


1140

Mudflats and
sandflats

not covered
by seawater at low tide



1441

Shore dock




1102

Allis shad



Special Protection Area (SPA)


Tamar Estuaries Complex
classified in 1997


Internationally important
numbers of:


Egretta

garzetta

(little egret)
and
Recurvirostra

avosetta

(avocet).


Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)


Yealm

Estuary SSSI


Littoral sediment; Littoral rock


Wembury

SSSI


Littoral sediment; Littoral rock; Maritime cliff
and slope;
Cirl

bunting; Woodland


Plymouth Sound Shore & Cliffs SSSI


Littoral rock; Geology


St John’s Lake SSSI


Wintering birds (black
-
tailed godwit,
wigeon
);
Mudflats; Saltmarsh


Lynher

Estuary SSSI


Wintering birds (black
-
tailed godwit);
Mudflats; Saltmarsh; Bulbous foxtail;
Woodland


Tamar Tavy SSSI


Saltmarsh; Vascular plant assemblage;
(triangular
clubrush
); Wintering birds
(avocet); Woodland


Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)


Tamar Estuary MCZs


Intertidal biogenic reefs


Intertidal coarse sediment


Blue mussel (
Mytilus

edulis
)
beds


Native oyster (
Ostrea

edulis
)


Smelt (
Osmerus

eperlanus
)


One of 27 MCZs declared on 21
st

November 2013


Reef attributes:

Feature

Sub
-
feature

Attribute

Reefs

Extent of reefs

Reefs



Water density (salinity and temperature)

Reefs



Water clarity

Reefs

Intertidal rock and boulder
communities

Distribution of characteristic rocky shore communities

Reefs

Intertidal rock and boulder
communities

Species composition of low
-
shore boulder communities

Reefs

Intertidal rock and boulder
communities

Species composition of
rockpool

communities

Reefs

Subtidal rocky reef communities

Distribution of characteristic biotopes

Reefs

Subtidal rocky reef communities

Species composition of characteristic biotopes

Reefs

Kelp forest communities

Algal species composition

Reefs

Kelp forest communities

Characteristic species
-

Laminaria

hyperborea

& L.
ochroleuca

-

population size

Reefs

Kelp forest communities

Characteristic species
-

Distomus

variolosus

population
size

Reefs

Estuarine bedrock, boulder and
cobble communities

Extent and distribution of characteristic biotopes
(
SIR.Cor.Ele

-

LsacRS.FiR

as identified at Appendix IV)

Condition assessment


Favourable condition of the reefs in the SAC will be determined by:



Extent and distribution of the habitat;



Diversity of the habitat and it’s component species;



Community structure of the habitat


e.g. population structure of individual notable species and
their contribution to the functioning of the ecosystem



Natural environmental quality and processes


e.g. water quality, suspended sediment levels, etc.


Subtidal sandbank attributes:

Feature

Sub
-
feature

Attribute

Subtidal sandbanks


Extent

Subtidal sandbanks


Sediment
character: particle size

Subtidal sandbanks


Topography

Subtidal sandbanks

Eelgrass bed communities

Extent of eelgrass bed communities

Subtidal sandbanks

Eelgrass bed communities

Water clarity

Subtidal sandbanks

Eelgrass bed communities

Characteristic species
-

density of
Zostera

marina

Subtidal sandbanks

Eelgrass bed communities

Characteristic species
-

epiphytic community

Subtidal sandbanks

Eelgrass bed communities

Nutrient status
-

green algal mat

Subtidal sandbanks

Gravel and sand communities

Species composition of characteristic biotopes
(
IGS.Sell

&
IMS.EcorEns

as identified in Appendix
IV)

Subtidal sandbanks

Muddy sand communities

Species composition of characteristic biotope
(
IMS.MacAbr

as identified in Appendix IV)

Recent surveys


2009 diving survey of seagrass beds


2010 intertidal surveys of
Lynher

and
Tamar


2011 subtidal sediment grab sampling


2011 subtidal cobble communities video
survey


2012 diving survey of kelp communities


2012 diving and video survey of seagrass
beds


2013 diving survey of subtidal reefs


2013 saltmarsh survey


Ongoing informal assessment of Allis shad





Anticipated future surveys


2014 baseline conditions for MCZ
features



2015 intertidal rocky shore survey



2016 estuarine subtidal sediment
and reef survey



2016 subtidal sandbanks survey



2017 kelp forest survey



2017 seagrass survey


Issues and limitations


Resources dictate survey effort


Surveys represent snapshots in time (ca. 6 years between surveys)


Ensuring sufficient sampling effort to determine significant levels of
change



Determining causes... are changes natural or anthropogenic?



Reliant on other data to inform our


assessment of condition particularly


activities data



Are we seeing whole picture?


Opportunities for sharing resources and data


Water Framework Directive (WFD), MSFD, Civil
Hydrography

Programme (CHP) and other statutory drivers all involve data
collection



Partnerships and other collaborations offer many opportunities


Public sector: EA, Cefas, MCA, IFCAs, PCC, CCO etc


Institutions and NGOs: Plymouth University, MBA, Seasearch
etc



Open Government License seeks to share data


“Gather once, use many times”





Future improvements



Establish a continuous process for capturing
feature exposure to activities



Collaborative approach provides further
opportunities to refine our approach e.g. allowing
more frequent sampling



Expand programme to include MCZs, SPAs,
SSSIs



UK Marine Biodiversity Monitoring R&D
programme will identify options for delivering
integrated monitoring: inside and outside MPAs





Prioritisation process will change, but should
retain key elements of Risk Based Approach






Summary



Scale of the task and limited resources force us to prioritise



Makes sense to prioritise monitoring on those features subject to most risk
for more frequent survey to detect deterioration & support adaptive
management



Collaboration with other marine agencies provides efficiencies and
increased capacity



Explore feasibility of a combination of periodic ‘intensive survey’ with more
frequent, but less intensive sampling to better assess natural variability &
detect deterioration / recovery








Thank you


Gavin Black

Marine Monitoring Specialist

0300 060 2424

gavin.black@naturalengland.org.uk



www.naturalengland.org.uk




Plymouth in context


Diverse conditions


open coast


large, sheltered bay


confluence of 5 estuaries


diverse shores and seabed substrates


Huge range of habitats and species


Internationally important European Marine Site
(EMS) = SAC+SPA


Subtidal sandbanks



Range of sandy sediments inc.


Tide
-
swept sandy banks in estuaries


Sandy
muds

north of Breakwater with
seapens


Muddy sands in
Jennycliff

Bay


Fine sands with eelgrass beds at Cellars Cove and
Cawsands


One of biggest areas of eelgrass in Devon and South
-
West

Reefs


Diverse range of reefs


Rich limestone shore communities


Kelp forests


Nationally rare sponges, corals, anemones
and crustaceans



Sub
-
feature extent currently based on 1999
data

But we know better data exist