Policy Area Nutri of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region works on Saving the Sea, which is one of the three main objectives of the Strategy. The aim of the Policy Area is to reduce nutrient inputs to the Baltic Sea to acceptable levels.
Of the many environmental challenges facing the Baltic Sea, the most serious and difficult to tackle with conventional approaches is the continuing eutrophication. Excessive nutrient loads through agricultural run-off, inadequately treated sewage, airborne emissions and internal fluxes are the main cause of eutrophication. The impacts of eutrophication include oxygen depletion, reduced water clarity, an increase in filamentous algae, summer blooms of cyanobacteria (blue green algae) and other undesirable changes in species composition.
The latest decades' large-scale investments in waste water treatment plants and key decisions on cleaner shipping have had an important impact on decreasing the nutrient load. According to the latest HELCOM assessment total normalised nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to the Baltic Sea have decreased with 12% and 25%, respectively, since the reference period (1997-2003) and 2015. However, to save the sea, further and continued action is needed.
In the third call for proposals the Monitoring Committee selected 31 projects out of 114 submitted project applications in the thematic areas of innovation, natural resources and transport. The Committee allocated EUR 56 million of the European Regional Developing Fund (ERDF), EUR 1.9 million of the Norwegian National Fund and EUR 1.4 million of ENI/Russian National Fund to the selected projects.
Among the appreciated projects is DESIRE, a PA Nutri flagship. The project aim is to decrease the amount of nutrients leaking to the rivers by e.g. reactivation of already drained wetlands. DESIRE focuses on the numerous disturbed peatlands in the Neman river catchment and ways to restore some of them to act as wetland buffer zones.
The 9th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region took place in Tallin, Estonia, on 4-5 June 2018. The meeting focused on Cohesion Policy after 2020 including INTERREG funding which has close link to EU macro-regional strategies.
Debates about the future in the BSR brought together over 750 participants from governments, international organisations, universities and businesses, and the event offered a wide networking occasion for the regional actors to share ideas and experience.
Dragons’ den - Four innovators meeting with four dragons
The seminar “Welcome to Dragons’ Den! Pitching ideas for a Clean Baltic Sea” organised by PA Nutri and NutriTrade flagship on 5 June 2018 addressed eutrophication from three different angles:
What is the current state of Baltic Sea ecosystems?
What kind of progress and innovations have been made in the current programme period?
Can these innovations be widely applied, and what difference would they make?
The pitchers defended their innovations on advanced waste water treatment, creating consumer guides, developing manure standards and applying gypsum at fields and took note of the sharp but constructive observations of the dragons.
Nutrient offsetting for the Baltic Sea(NutriTrade) Initiating full scale mussel farming in the Baltic Sea (Baltic Blue Growth) Interactive water management (IWAMA) Better efficiency for sewage treatment (BEST) Consumer guide for sustainably produced meat (CONSUME) Development of sustainable wetland management by restoration and biomass utilisation of peatlands in the Neman river catchment to improve water quality of the Baltic Sea (DESIRE) Enhancing water resources management in four river basins oriented on Baltic protection (BigRivers4Baltic)