Maija Fonteina-Kazeka, an environmental expert of the LIFE GoodWater IP project partner association “Baltic Coasts”, is developing a doctoral thesis “Application and use of the ecosystem services approach in surface water ecosystem quality monitoring.” It was first presented on February 3, 2022, in the sub-section of the 80th Science Conference of the University of Latvia “Latvia’s Climate, Surface and Groundwater – Variability, Trends and Impacts”. The research study is being developed under the science sub-branch “Nature Protection” of the, Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences of the University of Latvia and is fully focused on the goals and objectives set for the LIFE GoodWater IP project Action D2 “Monitoring of Ecosystem Services Restoration”.

The aim of the study is to develop an ecosystem services approach methodology for the assessment and monitoring of the ecological status of surface water. The implementation of the methodology also intends to take into account the assessment of the pressures on the ecosystems within the river basin district of the waterbody, analyse the correlation between the pressures and the quality of the ecosystems and the services they provide. The study will be complemented by assessments of whether monitoring of ecosystem services would be applicable to the monitoring and integration of surface water ecosystem quality within River Basin Management Plans.

In total, 7 tasks have been set to achieve the goal of the study, currently 4 of them are being actively pursued in cooperation with the LIFE GoodWater IP project:

  1. To summarise existing research on the identification of the services provided by surface water ecosystems and their connection with the ecological, chemical and physical quality assessment of water.
  2. To identify the ecosystem services provided by surface waterbodies, to define their characteristic indicators and units of measurement.
  3. To identify the availability of data required for the evaluation of the identified indicators, to determine a monitoring plan for the required data, if necessary.
  4. To involve an expert represening the field of each relevant indicator, thus forming an interdisciplinary expert working group for the application of indicator units in the quantification of ecosystem services, to develop an evaluation matrix and methodology for indicators characterising ecosystem services in the values ​​from 0-5 points.

The developed methodology is planned to be applied in the demonstration objects of the LIFE GoodWater IP project – rivers Mergupe, Auce and Aģe and lake Sauka.

The theses of the research report can be found here:

We will continue to inform about the progress of the research study and the obtained results!