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Indicative feature condition assessments for European marine sites (EMS)

A series of reports presenting NRW’s current advice on the indicative condition of features in key site in Wales’ network of marine protected areas

Why have we produced indicative feature condition assessments?

Wales' diverse coasts and seas support a wealth of habitats and species, generate income for the Welsh economy, and are a key part of our culture, history, landscape and recreation.

Effective management of the many uses and activities in the marine environment is crucial to safeguard our amazing marine wildlife and seascapes, and is equally important in preserving a future for those industries which rely on the coast and sea. To prioritise management action, it is important to understand the condition of the features of our designated marine protected areas.

Indicative condition assessments have therefore been produced for features in Wales’ European marine sites – these are marine Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) that are designated for features of European and international importance. 

How did we produce them?

The size, complexity and the volume of information for these sites (in some cases) has made a full reporting process unmanageable and unsustainable in the longer term. As a result, we have undertaken a much shorter process this time around, using a mixture of readily available evidence, collaborative, collective workshops, and an external quality assurance exercise, to inform our conclusions; we recognise that as a result the assessments are indicative only.

A definition of indicative condition assessment is provided below.

Indicative condition assessments: Definition and use

The term ‘indicative condition assessment’ describes the use of readily available evidence and expert judgement in an intensive, collective workshop process to provide an indication of feature condition at the site level.

The confidence rating associated with the assessments is an integral part of the indicative assessment. Confidence levels for feature assessments should therefore always be quoted alongside the indicative condition result, together with NRW’s definition of ‘indicative condition assessment’.

 

Indicative feature condition assessments for our European marine sites (EMS) in Wales

The indicative feature condition assessment reports for EMS in Welsh seas can be found in the table below, a separate report has been produced for each of the the eleven marine and coastal SACs. Indicative condition assessments have also been undertaken for our marine SPAs and these can be found in one report in the table below.

Cross border sites: The Dee Estuary SAC, Severn Estuary SAC and 3 of our marine SPAs are cross-border sites, jointly managed with Natural England (NE). Please note that the indicative condition assessments for these sites are based on the information collated and interpreted by NRW specialists and represent NRW’s opinion only.

Dee Estuary SAC

Dee Estuary SAC Indicative feature condition assessment report 

Menai Strait and Conwy Bay SAC

Menai Strait and Conwy Bay SAC Indicative feature condition assessment report 

Anglesey Coast: Saltmarsh SAC

Anglesey Coast: Saltmarsh SAC Indicative feature condition assessment report 

Cemlyn Bay SAC

Cemlyn Bay SAC Indicative feature condition assessment report

Lleyn Peninsula and the Sarnau SAC

Lleyn Peninsula and the Sarnau SAC Indicative feature condition assessment report 

Cardigan Bay SAC

Cardigan Bay SAC Indicative feature condition assessment report 

Limestone Coast of South West Wales SAC

Limestone Coast of South West Wales SAC Indicative feature condition assessment report

Pembrokeshire Marine SAC

Pembrokeshire Marine SAC
Indicative feature condition assessment report 

Carmarthen Bay and Estuaries EMS

Carmarthen Bay and Estuaries EMS Indicative feature condition assessment report 

Kenfig SAC

Kenfig SAC Indicative feature condition assessment report

Severn Estuary SAC

Severn Estuary SAC Indicative condition assessment report 

Marine SPAs in Welsh waters

Indicative condition assessment report on marine features of Welsh SPAs 

Next steps for condition assessments for our marine protected areas (MPAs) in Wales

Following this full round of indicative site condition assessments, we will be developing a permanent, sustainable, site-level feature condition reporting process that can be delivered on a regular basis. We are planning a series of projects to work towards this goal.

It is unlikely that resources and suitable evidence sources will all be available at any given time to monitor and report on all features, or to report with the same level of confidence. Our aim, however, is to develop, over the coming few years, an assessment and reporting process that is of practical use in informing effective site management for the maintenance or improvement of feature and site condition.

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