The SEABASED project is now finished with the development of a concept for aquatic compensation in coastal waters with a focus on nutrient offsetting. A procured consultant team has been working alongside the project partners to establish a rigid concept focusing on legal, ecological, and administrative aspects.
For the Government of Åland, responsible partner for the concept development work, the report will provide input for the ongoing revision of the Water Act in Åland and for the decrees to follow. In addition, the concept can be further utilized as a tool for regional actors, e.g. environmental authorities, in assessing and choosing between different measures when planning regional water protection and necessary cost-efficient water protection measures.
In the report, the basic idea of compensation, key concepts such as the mitigation hierarchy, and potential risks are presented. An overview is given on the legal framework covering the current situation in Åland, Finland and Sweden. Examples of potential measures for producing nutrient offsets both in the coastal and watershed area are presented and considered for their offsetting potential and ecological impacts. Results from the SEABASED pilot activities are also evaluated in the concept as potential measures to reduce nutrients from the marine environment and to restore coastal areas to better conditions. Economic and societal aspects of what needs to be considered in planning a compensation scheme are briefly described. Examples and ideas are given on how compensation pools or biobanks have been organized elsewhere.
This nutrient compensation concept provides a solid structure that can be built on and used as a tool for developing functional offsetting systems, allowing parallel development of economic activities and environmental protection while complying with EU environmental directives.