Küste Hero Istock-1209864348 Anna Gorbacheva

The effectiveness of nitrogen and phosphorus load reduction measures from source to sea, considering the effects of climate change


Project timeline
October 2022
36 months
September 2025
General Information
The central aim of the NAPSEA project is to support national and local authorities in selecting effective nutrient load reduction measures and to gain political support for the implementation. The consortium partners have been closely involved in applied research and implementation of nutrient reduction measures at local, national and European level. In NAPSEA the current challenges to reduce nutrient pollution, eutrophication and its negative impacts on inland and coastal waters and their ecosystem services will be addressed by an integrated approach addressing nutrient pollution from river source to sea, using the Rhine and Elbe Rivers-North Sea coastal system as case study and integrating three complementary perspectives: governance, nutrient pathways & measures, and ecosystem health. Each of these perspectives provide an essential part of the solution to achieving a healthy ecosystem with measures that are societally acceptable and cost-effective. We will identify options to reach a harmonized approach in nutrient reduction measures across different geographical areas and policy frameworks (governance), select and evaluate nutrient reduction scenarios with an integrated modelling framework from source to sea (nutrient pathways) and define safe ecological boundaries for different types of ecosystems along the continuum from catchment to coast (ecosystem health).
NAPSEA will showcase the best practices and consider obstacles on the implementation of socially acceptable, sustainable and effective measures for several local case studies within this geographical scope, also taking into account effects of climate change. These case studies accommodate the variability in potential threats of eutrophication as well as feasibility, effectiveness and implementation of potential measures to represent different ecosystem types, with varying eutrophication symptoms, and address different socio-economic and governance scales from local to European level.

Hereon will coordinate the work on ecosystem health and contribute to the nutrient pathways in the Elbe estuary. We will propose new regional specific eutrophication targets based on seagrass recovery and nutrient ratios in the Wadden Sea. For the Elbe estuary, we will investigate the nutrient reduction necessary to avoid oxygen problems in the Elbe estuary. An innovating and challenging aspect will be to couple the Hereon-Elbe estuary model with the Elbe river model by the UFZ, another partner in the project. This will be also a major step addressing the land-river-ocean continuum as one coupled system. The latter is an important contribution to the Helmholtz POF program.
EU-Programme Acronym and Subprogramme AreaHORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-01
Project TypeCoordination and Support Action (CSA)
Contract NumberGrant Agreement 101060418
Co-ordinatorStichting Deltares (NL)
Funding for the Project (€) Funding for Hereon (€)
Contact Person at Hereon Dr. Justus van Beusekom, Institute of Carbon Cycles, Department Aquatic Nutrient Cycles (KCN), phone: +49(4152)87-2803; Dr. Johannes Pein, Institute of Coastal Systems - Analysis and Modeling, Department Hydrodynamics and Data Assimilation (KSD), phone: +49(4152)87-1564
E-mail contact
Worldwide Europe

Fresh-Thoughts Consulting GmbH (AT), Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ (DE), Ministerie van Infrastructuur En Waterstaat (NL), Nutriënten Management Instituut NMI B.V. (NL), Stichting Deltares (NL), Umweltbundesamt (DE)
NAPSEA website
Last Update: 24. February 2023