ARTWEI – tools for ‘transitional waters’

The ARTWEI project has developed a code of conduct and tools for managing transitional waters in cross-border areas. While the project focused on four water bodies in the South Baltic Sea – Curonian Lagoon, Vistula Lagoon, Odra Lagoon and Öresund – its work has value for the joint management of transitional waters everywhere.

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The ARTWEI project has developed a code of conduct and tools for managing transitional waters in cross-border areas. Working groups active in cross-border transitional waters around the Baltic Sea area have also adopted many of the guidelines and best practices coming out of ARTWEI. © ARTWEI The ARTWEI project has developed a code of conduct and tools for managing transitional waters in cross-border areas. Working groups active in cross-border transitional waters around the Baltic Sea area have also adopted many of the guidelines and best practices coming out of ARTWEI. © ARTWEI

" The training course organised by the ARTWEI project has provided the skills needed to cooperate more closely with our partners across the border in the Russian part of the Curonian Spit (national park Kurshskaya kosa). We have already conducted several joint meetings, and the future cooperation based on the code of conduct enables us to jointly tackle the eutrophication problem and ensure the environmental integrity of the Curonian Spit. "

Aušra Feser, Director of the Curonian Spit National Park

Transitional waters are bodies of brackish surface water influenced by both salt- and freshwater flows. They include fjords, estuaries, lagoons and deltas. These ecosystems face growing pressure due to their popularity with visitors and the impact of eutrophication (water with an over-abundance of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients), which causes bacterial blooms in the summer and can lead to the death of fish and other aquatic animals. 

The code of conduct developed by ARTWEI provides guidelines for the cross-border management of transitional waters. Based on local examples, the guidelines catalogue measures and recommendations for use in similar contexts elsewhere in the European Union and worldwide. 

Lessons learned 

The project produced a set of integrated coastal-zone management tools supported by case studies outlining the lessons learned, along with key success and risk factors for improving cooperation and the joint management of cross-border transitional waters. The case studies include: 

  • integrated strategies for the cross-border management of transitional waters on the Eastern border of the European Union;
  • economic valuation of linear and areal riparian habitats of the Curonian Lagoon;
  • transboundary conservation of fish stocks in the Öresund Sound;
  • NATURA 2000 management in and around the Oder or Szczecin Lagoon;
  • cross-border cooperation in addressing natural hazards and emergency relief in the Curonian Lagoon shared between Lithuania and Russia;
  • management of dredged material from the Oder or Szczecin Lagoon;
  • the Wadden Sea Forum – a transitional water stakeholder body;
  • management of Ireland’s transboundary transitional water bodies;
  • long-lasting collaboration between the stakeholders of the river Roya basin – France, Italy and Monaco;
  • transboundary environmental impact assessments in the construction of fixed links across the Danish straits.

Good practices

The code of conduct is being put to good use. For example, the Lithuanian Ministry of Environment relies on the code in its cross-border cooperation with Russian counterparts working in the Curonian Lagoon area. Similarly, German-Polish regional cooperation in the Oder or Szczecin Lagoon area was reinvigorated thanks to the code of conduct. Working groups active in cross-border transitional waters around the Baltic Sea area have also adopted many of the guidelines and best practices coming out of ARTWEI.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for ARTWEI – “Action for the Reinforcement of the Transitional Waters’ Environmental Integrity” – was EUR 1 335 969 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contributing EUR 1 110 982 through the “South Baltic Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013”.

Draft date

09/11/2016