The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) establishes a framework for the protection and improvement of transitional and coastal waters; its final objective is to achieve at least ‘good water status’ for all waters, by 2015. The WFD requires Member States (MSs) to assess the Ecological Status (ES) of water bodies. This assessment will be based upon the status of the biological, hydromorphological and physico-chemical quality elements, by comparing data obtained from monitoring networks to reference (undisturbed) conditions, and then deriving an Ecological Quality Ratio (EQR). One of the biological quality elements to be considered is the benthic invertebrate component and some structural parameters (composition, diversity and disturbance–sensitive taxa) must be included in the ES assessment. Following these criteria, several approaches to benthic invertebrate assessment have been proposed by MSs. The WFD requires that these approaches are intercalibrated.
This contribution describes the comparison of the different methodologies proposed by United Kingdom, Spain, Denmark and Norway. Results show a high consistency between the approaches, both with regard to determining the EQR and boundary settings for the ES.