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Sand bankSand which rises from a level seabed towards the surface, often levelling-off in shallower depths. As defined for the EC Habitats Directive, 'sandbanks which are slightly covered by seawater all the time' are: "Sublittoral sandbanks, permanently submerged. Water depth is seldom more than 20 m below Chart Datum". They can be non-vegetated or vegetated and can include free-living species of the Corallinacea family. (European Commission, 1995).
Sand flatAn expanse of sand of sandy sediment in the intertidal zone. For definition under the EC Habitats Directive, see 'mudflat'.
Sea Fisheries CommitteeSea Fisheries Committee is a local fishery committee constituted under Section 2 of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966 for the purpose of regulating fishing for sea fish (except for salmon and migratory trout) out to 6nm (Defra, 2007).
Sea lochIn Scotland - a marine inlet (q.v.) which has fjordic or fjardic features, entered by the tide (on each cycle), and with a salinity generally greater than 30 ‰. Brackish conditions may be periodically established, particularly in the surface layers (based on Earll & Pagett, 1984). As defined for the EC Habitats Directive, 'open sea lochs' are "simple glacial features which are longer than they are wide, have no entrance sill and in which the seabed slopes gradually towards the head". See also 'fjard', 'fjord'.
Sensitivity(conservation assessment) An assessment of the intolerance of a species or habitat to damage from an external factor and the time taken for its subsequent recovery. For example, a very sensitive species or habitat is one that is very adversely affected by an external factor arising from human activities or natural events (killed/destroyed, 'high' intolerance) and is expected to recover over a very long period of time, i.e. >10 or up to 25 years ('low'; recoverability). Intolerance and hence sensitivity must be assessed relative to change in a specific factor.
ShellfishAn aquatic shelled mollusc or crustacean, especially an edible one (OED, 1990).
Site of Community Importance (SCI)Is a site which, in the biogeographic region to which it belongs, contributes significantly to the maintenance or restoration at a favourable conservation status of a habitat or species scheduled in the EU Habitats (and Species) Directive (Anon, 2001).
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)An area of land or water notified by the Nature Conservancy Council or its successor agencies under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as being of special nature (can include geological) conservation importance.
SoundAny deep (> 5 m depth) tidal channel between two bodies of open coastal water. Strictly, a sound is a wide expanse of water (from Earll & Pagett, 1984).
Special Area of Conservation (SAC)A site designation specified in the Habitats Directive. Each site is designated for one or mores of the habitats and species listed in the Directive. The Directive requires a management plan to be prepared and implemented for each SAC to ensure the favourable conservation status of the habitats or species for which it was designated. In combination with special protection areas (SPA), these sites contribute to the Natura 2000 network (Anon, 2001).
Special Protection Area (SPA)A site of European Community importance designated under the Wild Birds Directive (Commission of the European Communities Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the Conservation of Wild Birds).
StabilityThe ability of an ecosystem to resist change (from Makins, 1991)
SublittoralThe zone exposed to air only at its upper limit by the lowest spring tides, although almost continuous wave action on extremely exposed coasts may extend the upper limit high into the intertidal region. The sublittoral extends from the upper limit of the large kelps and includes, for practical purposes in nearshore areas, all depths below the littoral. Various subzones are recognised (based on Hiscock, 1985).
SustainabilityMaintaining the environment's natural qualities and characteristics and its capacity to fulfil its full range of functions, including maintenance of biodiversity (from English Nature, Planning for environmental sustainability, June 1994).


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Pritchard, D.W., 1967. What is an estuary: physical viewpoint. In Estuaries (ed. G.H. Lauf), 3-5. Washington; American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS Publication, no. 83].


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