Monitoring and surveillance

The emphasis in surveillance and monitoring strategies for the biotope complexes Intertidal sand and mudflats and Subtidal mobile sandbanks should be to determine the natural and anthropogenic variability of the important features. This will also establish baseline data so that any gross changes due to natural or human-induced events can be identified and quantified. As shown throughout this report, these sedimentary biotope complexes have common environmental and biological attributes and so they will require similar methodologies for their monitoring and surveillance. It is emphasised that any monitoring and surveillance of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) will have to include concurrent surveys of all their component biotopes and biotope complexes.

As shown in Chapters II and III, there are extensive linkages between and within the environmental and biological attributes. This dictates that monitoring to assess and thus protect one feature of conservation importance, such as the infaunal community structure, should include the environmental features required for the well-being of that biota. Hence the monitoring philosophy to be employed is to assess:

  • any interference to the physical forcing variables such as hydrographic regime and sediment type;
  • and changes in the aspects of conservation biodiversity value, especially the support of predator populations; and
  • but through an emphasis on the monitoring of macrobenthic community as this will reflect changes in the physical variables and influence the predator communities.

This chapter gives brief details for the monitoring of the invertebrate, bird and fish communities, and the environmental parameters. The methods for the monitoring of the environmental and biological features are summarised in the linked table and details relating to the particular use of methods are given in the Appendix and the references cited therein.

Monitoring strategies relevant to SACs

Monitoring of environmental attributes

Monitoring of biological attributes

Quality of data produced and Quality Standards and their Compliance