From 2 to 3 November 2022, 16 trilateral experts held a workshop on “subtidal habitats” in the framework of the Trilateral Monitoring and Assessment Programme (TMAP) in Büsum, Germany. The event was organised by the National Park Authority Schleswig-Holstein, the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS) and the local hosts of the Research and Technology Centre, West Coast (FTZ). It was part of the ambition of the trilateral Task Group Monitoring and Assessment (TG-MA) to discover gaps in TMAP and to adjust it to current developments for guaranteeing a sound and future proof programme.
The subtidal regions of the Wadden Sea form an important and extensive habitat which is more than 96% of the time submerged and constitute a total share of 44% of the overall area of the Wadden Sea. Due to their nature, subtidal habitats are considered as poorly monitored in a common programme, with detailed information only available on a rather local scale. Participants provided information on the EU-Directives framework on subtidal habitats as well as past and on-going monitoring activities and projects in their region. The information was compiled to gain a Wadden Sea wide overview on activities and potential information sources not only on the bathymetry and sedimentology, but also on biological processes.
The habitat is underlying different pressures with severe effects on the habitat like shipping, fishing, sand nourishments, dredging and dumping. To gather sufficient information for future ecological assessments, participants discussed options for cost effective monitoring activities based on already existing programmes to be potentially integrated into TMAP in the future. It was furthermore considered to develop a corresponding project to support the trilateral monitoring activities regarding subtidal habitats.
In general, the workshop once again highlighted the importance of working across disciplines and across boundaries for the effective management of the Wadden Sea.