SEABASED project

    September 3, 2018

    About the project

    Introduction and background

    The most large-scale problem of the Baltic Sea is eutrophication. While we’ve been successful in cutting the nutrient load coming from the land, nutrients that are stored in the seabed slow down the recovery of the Sea. The SEABASED Project (Seabased Measures in Baltic Sea Nutrient Management) will assess measures that improve the status of a marine area by reducing the internal load of the sea. The project will pilot selected measures in the pilot areas in Finland, Åland and Sweden.

    The goal of the SEABASED Project (Seabased Measures in Baltic Sea Nutrient Management) is to reduce the consequences of eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. The project will assess measures that seek to improve the status of the marine area by reducing the internal load of the sea. Some of the measures potentially also support the circular economy by recycling nutrients from the sea to the land. Moreover, the project will implement small-scale pilots on selected measures in the coastal area.

    The objective of the project is to engage various stakeholders of the society in an open dialogue on the benefits and risks of the measures, and their applicability for the Baltic Sea. The project is led by the John Nurminen Foundation, and the project partners are the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southwest Finland, Government of Åland, the Åland Fishfarmers’ Association, Stockholm University and County Administrative Board of Östergötland. The total budget for the Project is approximately 2.8 million euros of which the EU Interreg Central Baltic programme is financing approximately 2.1 million euros.

    Work packages (=WP) of the project – all this we’re going to achieve!

    WP Guidelines

    WP responsible partner: John Nurminen Foundation

    In the WP, Guidelines on seabased measures will be complied, targeted for authorities and policymakers for assessing, selecting and discussing the possibilities of applying sea-based measures in water protection policy in the BSR. Potential for commercialization and future financing of seabased measures will be evaluated, with an objective to proceed from project based approach in Baltic Sea protection into sustainable long-term financing scheme.

    Cross-sectoral discussion within and between countries and different stakeholders will be facilitated to achieve comprehensive understanding on sustainability and possibilities of seabased measures, and to enable future integration of the suitable measures into environmental policies in the BSR. Guideline development will be a participatory process, engaging target groups and key stakeholders into the discussion via commenting rounds and in workshops and round table discussions. In addition, sustainability assessment produced in WP Sustainability will be included in the Guidelines.

    WP  Water improvement fund and ecological compensations

    WP responsible partner: The Government of Åland

    The main objective of the WP is to develop a concept of Water improvement fund, for which Åland will act as “test laboratory”. The concept will be applied and tested in practice with pilot measures, with an objective to examine different options and needs for new regulations for legislation and to find functional and sustainable solutions e.g. to be utilized in ecosystem based nutrient compensations in the future.

    The WP contains concrete pilot activities to reduce nutrients from the marine environment: Fishing undervalued fish, like stickleback and removing nutrient-rich waters from two eutrophied semi-closed, coastal bays and testing the possibility of recycling nutrients by utilizing the water for irrigation on fields. Also complementary measures to increase predatory fish stocks will be tested to support ecosystem recovery and, consequently, reduce the internal nutrient load in pilot coastal bays. In addition, results from all project pilot activities will be utilized in the concept development work.

    WP Sustainability

    WP responsible partner: Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southwest Finland

    WP Sustainability will include thorough sustainability assessments and monitoring of pilot activities taking place in Sweden, Finland and Åland. Based on the results of the environmental assessments, criteria for pilot implementation will be set, and preconditions for suitable locations will be compiled for future applications of different seabased measures. Partners representing regional authorities will monitor the implementation of pilot activities, and will also be responsible for permitting the pilot activities planned. To ensure also the social sustainability of the activities, local communities will be involved in pilot implementation from beginning through discussion and local information events. For future applications of piloted measures, the legislative and administrative issues related in implementation of such activities, as well as financial sustainability and potential effects on local livelihoods, will be looked into and gathered information will be included in the Guidelines.

    WP Binding phosphorus into sediment

    WP responsible partner: Stockholm University

    In the project, three pilot examples with marl and limestone residue application to phosphorus-rich bottom sediments will be implemented in coastal bays in Sweden (Östergötland, Stockholm) and Finland (Archipelago Sea). In Sweden, residue marl from pile in Gotland will be used, and in Finland the suitability of local limestone residues in Parainen will be studied. If limestone is found to be not applicable, Gotland marl will be utilized also in pilot in Finland. The pilot will start with a short development phase to define exact amounts of marl/limestone application, after which the measure will be implemented. After application, the effects of the measure on phosphorus concentrations as well as on sediments and biota will be assessed. Based on the results, SU DEEP will compile guidelines for marl application as a method for binding phosphorus to bottom sediments in the Baltic Sea region.

    WP  Sediment removal

    WP responsible partner: Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southwest Finland

    Removal of organic, oxygen consuming top layer of bottom sediment will be tested at two pilot sites in Finland and the effect and efficiency of the method will be evaluated. The main objective is to remove nutrients from the seabed, but also to deplete the organic oxygen consumption in the sediment and, consequently, decrease the leakage of phosphorus from anoxic sediment to the watercourse. Therefore, to gain information on the efficiency of the measure, the nutrient contents in the sediment will be measured and changes in nutrient concentration in the watercourse above the sediment will be monitored thoroughly. The suitability and potential of the measure in Baltic Sea protection will be evaluated, especially for coastal anoxic bottom areas that have been historically under high nutrient load, with little possibilities of significant flora or fauna to survive without restoration measures.