Current status2012
Short term status2007 - 2012
Long term status2002 - 2012

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Chart B.7.iii._1 Number of transitional and marine habitats reported as Chart B.7.iii._2 Number of transitional and marine habitats reported as

Adopted in 2000, the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) aims to protect all water resources, prevent further deterioration of all waters and to restore degraded surface and ground waters to good status by 2015.  In addition, the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) was adopted in 2008 with the aim to achieve Good Environmental Status in Europe’s marine waters by 2020.  The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government delegated the task of WFD implementation in Ireland to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and MSFD implementation to the Marine Institute (MI).  The assessment of transitional waters is primarily driven by the WFD, with coastal water assessments now required by both the WFD and the MSFD. 

Pressures on water quality assessed under the WFD in transitional and coastal waters include inputs of hazardous substances and morphological alterations.  As with rivers and lakes, transitional and coastal waters are classified into high, good, moderate, poor or bad ecological status based a standard, European-wide unified approach integrating a suite of biological, chemical and morphological conditions.  Assessment of quality if based on the extent of deviation from reference conditions i.e. biological, chemical and morphological conditions associated with no or very low human pressure.  In the period 2007-2009, 121 transitional and coastal water bodies were assessed and of these, 55 (46%) were classified as either high or good ecological status.

In addition to the WFD, the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and the Nitrates Directive require an assessment of the level of eutrophication in transitional and coastal waters.  In Ireland, this is assessed via the EPA’s Trophic Status Assessment Scheme (TSAS).  The TSAS compares the compliance of individual parameters against a set of criteria relating to dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment, accelerated algal growth and the level of dissolved oxygen.  Each water body assessed is then categorised as either eutrophic, potentially eutrophic, intermediate or unpolluted.  From 1995 to 2009, the percentage of water bodies being classified as eutrophic has fallen from 25% to 10%, and with unpolluted classification increasing from 40% to 49%.


More information on water quality in Ireland’s coastal and transitional waters can be found here:


More information on the Water Framework Directive and the EPA’s Monitoring and Assessment Programme can be found here:


Number of transitional and marine habitats reported as 'Good Environmental Status' under Marine Strategy Framework Directive monitoring

The EU Water Framework Directive was adopted in 2000 bringing a standardised framework to safeguarding all water bodies and water-dependent ecosystems.  The number of transitional water and marine habitats attaining high or good environment status is an indicator of Ireland’s success in protecting its water resources.

Created: 2014-11-21 10:02:39 | Updated: 2017-10-23 16:23:47