German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Results from the Working Group on Water

Headed by Dr. Thomas Schoknecht, the Federal Government and Länder Working Group FFH-Berichtspflichten Gewässer (Reporting Obligations for Waterbodies Listed in the Habitats Directive) has already completed its work.The magazine Natur und Landschaft 2004, (Issue 7) sets out the recommendations using the example of natural habitat type 3160 Natural Dystrophic Lakes and Ponds.

Assessment Matrices for Standing Water Habitats

Because assessment of ponds as secondary, anthropogenically influenced standing waters cannot be conducted as for natural standing waters, separate assessment matrices were drawn up.

Assessment Matrices (downloads in German only)
Oligotrophic standing waters containing very few minerals of sandy plains (Littorelletalia uniflorae)3110, PDF
Oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing waters with vegetation of the Littorelletea uniflorae and/or of the Isoëto-Nanojuncetea (incl. assessment category for ponds)3130, PDF
Hard oligo-mesotrophic waters with benthic vegetation of Chara spp.3140, PDF
Natürliche und naturnahe Natural and near-natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation (incl. assessment category for ponds)3150, PDF
Natural dystrophic lakes and ponds3160, PDF
Turloughs3180, PDF

Assessment Matrices for Running Water Habitats

To exploit potential synergies and achieve comparable results, identification and assessment of running water habitats is closely based on the assessment requirements contained in the Water Framework Directive.

Assessment Matrices (downloads in German only)
Water courses of plain to montane levels with Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation3260, PDF
Rivers with muddy banks with Chenopodion rubri p.p. and Bidention p.p. vegetation3270, PDF

The maximum and threshold values applied to the various parameters for assessment level classification are highlighted in grey in the assessment matrices because final identification is the responsibility of the Länder. The threshold values must be finalised as regards regional and natural areas and features. Manifestation of habitat types that are naturally poor in species and structure must be assessed in a way other than that prescribed.

The three assessment criteria:

  • Habitat Structures
    Assessment of habitat structures is conducted in line with the respective habitat type given the representativity and scope of the value-giving components of the vegetation structure. When calculating scores, the characteristic components of the waterbody’s vegetation structure are rated higher than the traits of the siltation zones.
  • Inventory of Characteristic Species:
    As a general rule, the number of characteristic plant species is included when assessing the representativity of the characteristic species inventory. In some habitat types, the species are ranked in line with their ecological focus. Based on this ranking, the habitat is then assigned taking account of the frequency to the score value at which the sum of species or frequencies is greatest (see 3160, for example).
    Because dystrophic lakes (3160) are only marginally characterised by plant species, additional identification of dragonfly fauna is recommended. For other habitat types, other characteristic groups of animal species can be included in the assessment on a discretionary basis.
    In the case of Turloughs (3180), assessment cannot be performed based on the species spectrum because no typical species inventory exists.
  • Adverse Effects:
    Isolated adverse effects such as intensive tourism are assessed in an expert study. Assessment of other adverse effects such as construction on and use of the riverbank/shoreline is based on the degree (percentage) of transformation of the riverbank/shoreline.
    When assessing adverse effects, sub-characteristics are not taken into account. Focus is placed instead on the sub-characteristic that receives the worst assessment score and poses the greatest threat.

Last Change: 02/03/2021