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Improving mapping and monitoring of the ecological status of marine and inland water

Project promoter: Environmental Protection Agency
Project title: Improving mapping and monitoring of the ecological status of marine and inland water
Project code: LT05-1-AM-TF-002
Project eligible expenditure: EUR 479 000,00 (EUR 407 149,67 grant from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and EUR 71 850,33 budget co-financing)
Project signature date: 7 August 2020
Project implementation period: 7 August 2020 - 7 December 2022

There are a few major obstacles impeding timely and thorough assessment of the status of water bodies and pressures those water bodies are faced with:
•          Limited land use data prevent correct identification and quantification of agricultural and other land-based pollution sources and the root-causes of changes in water quality. Currently there are only CORINE land cover data which becomes available only every 6 years and with at least 2 years of delay. Moreover, the current granularity of land cover class detection data does not allow for a more detailed analysis of land cover changes. In absence of this data, the analysis of the water quality changes, tracing of the root-causes, as well as forecasting the impact of mitigation measures turn out to be inaccurate;
•          There is no or limited information on water quality in small water bodies. The current state monitoring network does not contain sampling sites in small lakes (<50 ha). It is highly unrealistic to expand State monitoring to comprise all such water bodies due to lack of human and financial resources;
•          Difficulties to detect sudden and significant unfavourable water quality changes (for instance, algal blooms) due to low frequency of sampling;
•          In events of ecological disasters  absence of readily available up-to-date information would prevent from taking timely and informed decisions on adequate response measures;
•          The flood risk and hazard map which are updated every 6 years provide a general information only, however, do not reflect annual factual occurrences. 

The objective of the project is to to create a remote data processing system for improved mapping and monitoring of the ecological status of marine and inland water.

The project will contribute to the ability of Lithuanian environmental authorities to roughly assess the water status of lakes and reservoirs in spatial and temporal coverage. Moreover, authorities will possess tools and capacities to assess yearly land use change. Additionally, a broader set of tools and methods of remote data processing system will be developed through the project.

The project includes:
  • Preparation of methodologies for generating various environmental assessment products on water bodies and land cover using the remote sensing imagery (e.g. Sentinel-2 ) dataflow;
  • Preparation of a set of applications (library of tools) for processing of remote sensing data;
  • Preparation of the user manual and hands-on training for relevant EPA staff, providing examples and guidance for the proficient application of library of tools in order to generate reliable environmental assessment results;
  • Study visits to respective institutions of the selected EU and/or EEA countries to exchange experience in the application of remote sensing methods for practical uses in the area of water status assessment and land use detection

Project benefit: 

The expected outcome of the project will be increased capacity to assess and predict environmental status of marine and inland waters by means of increased coverage and data accuracy of effectively monitored surface water bodies and land use changes.
As a result, competent state authorities will be able to detect potential water quality problems in most of non-river water bodies in Lithuania and to relate the land use change data with that of water quality, e.g.:
  • periodic data of land use changes and crop harvesting;
  • periodic screening and detection of potentially problematic lakes in terms of water quality;
  • periodic surveillance of eutrophication in selected critically important water bodies.

Main target groups of the project:  Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, Department of Environmental Protection under the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania and other state institutions taking care of water body condition assessment, improvement and protection, Lithuanian residents.


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