Friday, 30 November 2007

EU Cost Meeting at North Wyke

Originally uploaded by wq0109
This week the Working group 3 from the EU COST action on 'Mitigation options for nutrient reduction in surface water and groundwater' met at North Wyke in Devon, UK. There were nearly 50 participants from over 20 EU countries and some photos of the meeting can be seen here. A new EU wide initiative on pooling mitigation measures was sketched out and will be built upon as the COST action evolves through 2008 and beyond. This will add to UK Defra led work on the Diffuse Pollution Inventory and seeks ways of sharing the evidence base through a wider European forum. Much welcome! Phil

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Open University, Open Systems Research Group work on Integrated Catchment Managing

Kevin Collins (OU) and his colleagues have been working with the catchment science team at the Environment Agency over the past 2 years. At CAIWA2007, Kevin gave a fascinating presentation on 'Trusting emergence: Some experiences of learning about integrated catchment science with the Environment Agency of England and Wales '. This paper set out to explore whether current scientific practices and the resultant scientific explanations are able to meet the demands of doing effective integrated, adaptive water management, using some learning arising from co-research work with the EA in England and Wales.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Useful web resource: Learning for Sustainability

I recently discovered this very useful site (maintained by Will Allan) that aims to provide a practical resource for those who work with communities (in the wider sense of the term) to help them identify and adopt more sustainable practices. The pages on interdisciplinary research have links to the key scientific literature.

NERC Science into Policy booklet

This is a very helpful booklet that is primarily aimed to help NERC staff and NERC-funded scientists (equally applicable to all scientists) to:
a) recognise the relevance of science to policy-makers;
b) identify available opportunities, routes and best practice to influence policy-making;
c) communicate science in an appropriate and accessible way, to the right policy-makers, showing how it fits their policy needs.

The booklet explains key aspects of the UK policy-making process and gives links to some important information sources.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

EU Floods Directive comes into force

Information from the Defra website:
The European Directive on the Assessment and Management of Flood Risks (2007/60/EC of 23 October 2007) (the Floods Directive) is designed to help Member States prevent and limit floods and their damaging effects on human health, the environment, infrastructure and property. The Floods Directive came into force on 26 November, 2007 and Member States have 2 years in which to transpose the Directive into domestic law.

There is no existing Community legislation in the field of flood risk management. In putting the case for action, the Commission points to the large numbers of people affected by flooding within the Community in recent years, the high level of actual and prospective economic damage, and the severe environmental consequences that can arise from flooding, for example when waste water treatment plants or factories holding quantities of toxic chemicals are flooded (an aspect that is in fact addressed by the Water Framework Directive).

Monday, 26 November 2007

EU COST Workshop in Devon on Mitigating Nutrient Pollution

Workshop (of WG3) of the COST Action 869 ( is being held this week at IGER North Wyke, Devon. This will bring together over 50 leading scientists from across Europe to assess how much we know about mitigating nutrient pollution of surface and ground waters.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Implementation of the Water Framework Directive: WFD CIRCA Forum

Welcome to the CIRCA Interest Group "Implementing the Water Framework Directive", a new electronic forum accessible through the internet! This forum has been established in order to improve the sharing of information and the views on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. It is also part of the Common Implementation Strategy agreed on by the 15 Member States, Norway and the Commission on 2 May 2001 in Fiskebackskill, Sweden.

Contains all the information relevant to the WFD CIS process which is publicly available

An example being a recent workshop on setting nutrient standard
Zandvoort 11-12th October 2007

Monday, 19 November 2007

Consultation on Defra/ESRC Collaborative Research Centre on Sustainable Behaviours

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), together with the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Environment Agency and other potential partners across the UK, are jointly considering the establishment of an independent, multidisciplinary Research Centre on Sustainable Behaviours.To inform the possible establishment of such a centre, Defra are seeking the views of a wide range of stakeholders on the proposed plans for the Centre. It should be stressed that, at this stage, no firm decisions have been taken on the need for, or design of, such a Centre, and consultees are invited to input on both of these key considerations, as well as to suggest alternative approaches. If funding is agreed, the final specification for the Centre will be informed by the outcome of this consultation.

Friday, 16 November 2007

CAIWA 2007 Science-Policy Day

At the recent CAIWA2007 conference, a science-policy day was held that allowed scientists, policy makers and practitioners to learn from each on what we know and what we need to know for improved integrated and adaptive water management. Case studies from Europe (e.g. Rhine) and the rest of the world and key issues (e.g. Water quality and good ecological status- see slide above) were discussed in small structured group sessions. One key message that arose time and time again was the need for greater connectedness between science and governance at multiple scales.

Link to a presentation by Paul Ehrlich at the Stockholm Resilence Centre (September 2007)

"Wisdom seminar” with Professor Paul R. Ehrlich
Take the opportunity to see a video seminar with one of the most well-known and outspoken environmental scientists of our time, and listen to some of his collected wisdom from more than 50 years of research and public debate. Professor Ehrlich held this seminar 11 September 2007 in Stockholm where he focused his talk on coevolution, population growth and the perspective of ecosystem services.
See the video here (Time: 01:08:06/Windows Media Player)
Paul R. Ehrlich has pursued long-term studies of the structure, dynamics, and genetics of natural butterfly populations. He has also been a pioneer in alerting the public to the problems of overpopulation, and in raising issues of population, resources, and the environment as matters of public policy.

A Keynote from CAIWA 2007:Carl Folke

Professor Carl Folke is the Director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and also Science Director of the new Stockholm Resilience Centre: Research for Governance of Social-Ecological Systems. At CAIWA 2007 he talked about the need for adaptive water governance of socio-ecological systems in times of change. In the slide above he highlighted the need for bridging organisations that can work across a range of spatial scales under a governance system that has multiple levels (polycentric). Prof Folke also stressed the need to understand the resilience of socio-ecological systems e.g. surface water catchment.

CAIWA 2007 International Conference on Adaptive & Integrated Water Management

This conference was held last week in Basel, Switzerland and aimed to bring together scientists from academia, industry, and policy making/government to analyse progress, to explore new research directions and highlight policy implications of scientific findings. A number of the offered papers are available and hopefully the keynote presentations (some of which were excellent e.g. Carl Folke) will also become available.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Proceedings from 5th International Phosphorus workshop

A highly successful workshop was held in September and the proceedings are now available online for all to view. The workshop focused on strategies for abating P losses to the aquatic environment. The scope of the workshop was holistic and comprised P cycling and P loss from agriculture, tools for predicting and mapping the risk of P loss, effectiveness of different mitigation options and the impact of P on the aquatic environment.