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About 60 % of Norway’s rivers and lakes likely to meet targets for ecological status

Target

1.1 Norwegian ecosystems will achieve good status and deliver ecosystem services.

Indicator

Ecological status and trends for the following major ecosystems: marine and coastal waters, rivers and lakes, wetlands, forest, mountains and cultural landscapes (see the Norwegian Nature Index and the Water Management Regulations)
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Are we moving in the right direction? Published by The Norwegian Environment Agency

This indicator for rivers and lakes is based on the requirements of the Water Management Regulations, which incorporate the EU Water Framework Directive into Norwegian law. An indicator based on the Norwegian Nature Index is described here.

For Norway as a whole, about 40 per cent of all rivers and lakes are at risk of not achieving the target of good ecological status by 2021. We expect the target to be achieved for most of the remaining 60 per cent.

Where rivers and lakes are at risk of not achieving the target of good ecological status, this is explained by pressure from human activity that in turn results in changes in the fish fauna, phytoplankton, other aquatic flora and benthic invertebrate fauna.

There are considerable regional variations in Norway. The proportion of water bodies at risk of not achieving the target is highest in the southernmost areas (Agder river basin district), largely because of the impacts of acid rain. Glomma, Vest-Viken and Rogaland in Central and South-West Norway, have challanges with excessive supplies of nutrients from sewage and agriculture. In Western Norway, many water courses are affected by the development of power plants. From Trøndelag and further north, between 85% and 95% of the water bodies have good or very good ecological status.

The data used in the figures above have been obtained during the process of implementing the EU Water Framework Directive in Norway. In 2015, regional water management plans and associated action programmes were adopted. The ongoing work of the sectoral authorities will determine how quickly we achieve the target of good ecological status.