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Borja, A.: The European water framework directive: A challenge for nearshore, coastal and continental shelf research. Continental Shelf Research, 25: 1768-1783, 2005.

The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) establishes a framework for the protection of groundwater, inland surface waters, estuarine waters, and coastal waters. The WFD constitutes a new view of the water resources management in Europe because, for the first time, water management is: (i) based mainly upon biological and ecological elements, with ecosystems being at the centre of the management decisions; (ii) applied to European water bodies, as a whole; and (iii) based upon the whole river basin, including also the adjacent coastal area. Although the marine water bodies affected by the WFD relate to only 19.8% of the whole of the European continental shelf, its application constitutes a challenge and an opportunity in nearshore, coastal and continental shelf research. This contribution highlights some of the main tasks and the research to be undertaken in the coming years, proposing investigations into: typologies; physico-chemical processes; indicator species; reference conditions; integration of the quality assessment; methodologies in determining ecological status, etc.
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