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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

How effective are River Basin Management Plans in reaching the nutrient load reduction targets?

Piniewski, Mikolaj; Tattari, Sirkka; Koskiaho, Jari; Olsson, Olle; Djodjic, Faruk; Gielczewski, Marek; Marcinkowski, Pawel; Ksiezniak, Marta; Okruszko, Tomasz


Riverine nutrient loads are among the major causes of eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. This study applied the Soil & Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) in three catchments flowing to the Baltic Sea, namely Vantaanjoki (Finland), Fyrisan (Sweden), and Slupia (Poland), to simulate the effectiveness of nutrient control measures included in the EU's Water Framework Directive River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs). Moreover, we identified similar, coastal, middle-sized catchments to which conclusions from this study could be applicable. The first modelling scenario based on extrapolation of the existing trends affected the modelled nutrient loads by less than 5%. In the second scenario, measures included in RBMPs showed variable effectiveness, ranging from negligible for Slupia to 28% total P load reduction in Vantaanjoki. Adding spatially targeted measures to RBMPs (third scenario) would considerably improve their effectiveness in all three catchments for both total N and P, suggesting a need to adopt targeting more widely in the Baltic Sea countries.


Baltic Sea; Best Management Practices; Nutrient load; River Basin Management Plans; SWAT model; Targeting of measures

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2021, Volume: 50, pages: 706-722
Publisher: SPRINGER

      Sustainable Development Goals

      Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

      Publication identifier


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