There are a wide range of factors that impact on water quality. These include, but are not limited to: bacteria, excess nutrients, microplastics, endocrine disruptor chemicals, heavy metals, drugs, litter and turbidity.
A lot of work is already being done by partner organisations to address and manage water quality. The aim of this focus area is to work with partners and wider stakeholders to increase our understanding and knowledge of sources of contaminants within the Harbour waters and their impact on coastal ecosystems.
Using scientific evidence, we will seek to influence policy and environmental measures, and develop initiatives to help reduce levels of priority contaminants that are shown to be having a detrimental impact on the Harbour’s natural environment. Supporting academic research is a crucial part of this.
One well-recognised pressure within the Harbour is the high levels of nutrients entering which encourages large quantities of macroalgae weed to grow. This smothers the intertidal habitats and prevents light reaching them. Thick areas of macroalgae weed prevents the wading birds from feeding and smothers saltmarsh and seagrass. We are working with partners to develop initiatives that reduce the levels of nutrients entering the Harbour, such as supporting Catchment Sensitive Farming techniques that reduce nutrient levels in run off from farmland.