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Completion of work on the National Sea Water Protection Program

The project entitled “Development of the National Sea Water Protection Program” (KPOWM) was formally completed on April 22 this year. Work on it started on January 22, 2016. During this period, public consultations on the KPOWM project and KPOWM EIA Forecasts were also conducted. The project, commissioned by the National Water Management Authority, was carried out by a consortium of Sweco Consulting Sp. z o.o. (formerly Grontmij Polska Sp.z o.o.) and DHI Polska Sp. z o.o.

Legal basis

The obligation to develop KPOWM comes from the basic document implementing the intersectoral integrated maritime policy of the EU – Directive 2008/56 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of marine environmental policy (RDSM). This directive imposes on the Member States the obligation to take the necessary actions to achieve or maintain good ecological status of the marine environment (GES) by 2020 at the latest. RDSM was implemented into the national legal order mainly through the provisions of the Act of July 18, 2001, Water Law (Journal of Laws of 2015, item 469, as amended), precisely through the amendment of this act in the Act of January 4, 2013 on amending the Act – Water Law and certain other acts (Journal of Laws 2013, item 165). In accordance to the provisions of the Water Law Act, KPOWM is prepared by the President of the National Water Management Authority.

KPOWM is the last planning document required by the directive in the first cycle of implementation of its provisions by Poland and other EU Member States. Therefore, it takes into account the results and conclusions mainly from the preceding studies: Preliminary assessment of the status of marine waters (CIEP, 2014), A set of environmental objectives for marine waters (KZGW, 2015) and the Sea Water Monitoring Program (CIEP, 2015).

Planning works

The analytical work under the project was carried out in accordance with the logic presented below, including the key tools to verify the validity of the effectiveness of the proposed activities and the analysis of existing activities contributing to the achievement of good status of marine waters.

Parallel to the analytical work, in preparation were complete description of the state of the environment and environmental protection issues, necessary for the environmental impact assessment. The final assessment was included in the KPOWM and both documents sumbitted for public consultation.

On March 8-29, 2016, public consultations on the draft National Sea Water Protection Program and the Environmental Impact Assessment of this Program were conducted. On the website, draft documents were published along with an electronic form, which enables them to be consulted, reviewed, and commented on. In order to allow the widest possible group of stakeholders to participate in public consultations, the documents were also made available in paper form at the headquarters of KZGW and RZGW in Szczecin and Gdańsk. In addition, the documents were also made available at the conference in Sopot, allowing conference participants to submit comments on documents orally or on printed forms. During the entire process of public consultations, about 250 comments were submitted, which were addressed by experts developing KPOWM. Comments were taken into account, partly taken into account or disregarded (in this case justification was provided).

Substantive conclusions from KPOWM

The state of the Baltic Sea is defined by 11 main features. In Poland, the following features were identified as requiring improvement: C1 – Biodiversity, C3 – Commercially exploited species of fish and invertebrates, C5 – Eutrophication, C6 – Seabed integrity, C10 – Waste in the marine environment. Importantly, due to Due to the lack of sufficient monitoring data, two traits were not assessed: C2 – Alien species and C11 – Underwater noise and other energy sources. On the other hand, Polish sea waters were defined as meeting the requirements for the characteristics C4 – trophic chain, C7 – hydrographic conditions, C8 – pollutants and the effects of pollutants and C9 – harmful substances in fish and seafood.

Bearing in mind the specific environmental objectives, a number of existing activities that affect the achievement of the objectives were identified, the activities already planned in other planning documents were inventoried and new legal, administrative, control, economic, educational and technical measures were proposed. These activities, according to their nature and in accordance with the provisions of the Water Law Act, regulate the intensity of human activity, the permitted degree of disturbance in marine ecosystems, the location and dates of implementation of planned projects, contribute to the identification of marine water pollution and restore the previous state of the disturbed elements of marine ecosystems. Economic incentives were also taken into account, encouraging users of marine ecosystems to behave in order to achieve or maintain good environmental status of marine waters, thereby ensuring that all interested parties contribute to achieving good environmental status of marine waters and contribute to increasing public awareness of achieving or maintaining the good environmental status of marine waters. In total, 56 new measures were proposed, the implementation of which was estimated at the cost of approx. PLN 3 billion over the next few years. The specified activities were subjected to a cost-benefit analysis, quantitative and qualitative, to confirm the legitimacy of their implementation. It should be emphasized that many of the proposed activities are interconnected, and therefore synergistic effects can be expected when implementing them. On the other hand, since the features of marine ecosystems highlighted in the document are interrelated in various ways, a significant part of the activities will result in the improvement of not one, but more features.

The set goals for the individual waters distinguished within the Polish sea areas are very ambitious. Due to many conditions, both natural and resulting from a long-term policy in this area, in the case of some reservoirs and features, achieving environmental goals identical to good ecological status by 2020 seems unlikely. In such situations, it was proposed to apply the exceptions provided in the RDSM.

Among the assessed features, GES (Good Environmental Status) will be achieved by 2020 only by Feature 10 – Waste in the marine environment. The remaining ones (C1, C3, C5, C6), taking into account the indicators defined for them, may not reach GES by the deadline specified in the RDSM, i.e. by 2020.

KPOWM recommendations

The general direction, apart from the necessity to implement the measures proposed in both KPOWM and other planning documents, is the intensification of monitoring works that will not only fill the data gap for features 2 – Alien species and 11 – Underwater noise, but will enable a complete and reliable assessment for the next planning cycle, updating the set of goals and possibly making them more realistic in the face of the databases and arguments raised in discussions and consultations. In this respect, it is also important to study the ecological effect and ongoing supervision in order to be able to quantify the implementation of all (not only those resulting from KPOWM) measures aimed at achieving environmental objectives of marine waters. It is here that the need to coordinate actions implemented under other EU directives (especially the Water Framework Directive, the Nitrates Directive, the Wastewater Directive) should be clearly emphasized. It also indicates the need to continue the ongoing projects, studies and pilot programs aimed at deepening the knowledge about the Baltic Sea, and ultimately building a comprehensive database on the environment of marine waters.

It should be emphasized that the trends observed in Poland in recent years are generally favorable, and the successively adopted programs (including the Sea Waters Monitoring Program, the Harbor porpoise protection program, the Common Fisheries Policy, the creation of conservation task plans / protection plans for Natura 2000 areas) and implemented projects (e.g. Pilot implementation of the monitoring of marine species and habitats in 2015-2018 – CIEP) give hope for increasing protection, limiting the negative environmental effects of fishing, and thus a clear improvement of the existing conditions for key groups of marine organisms, including fish, birds , mammals and benthic communities. The implementation of KPOWM and other measures to protect marine waters will intensify this growing trend, so that in the coming years it is possible to indicate new Environmental Features of Good Condition (GES).

What’s next for the KPOWM project?

After the completion of the project, the President of the National Water Management Authority will submit the draft KPOWM to the minister responsible for water management for arrangement with members of the Council of Ministers. Then, within 3 months from the date of agreement, the draft is submitted to the European Commission and interested EU Member States. If, within 6 months from the date of submission of the draft, the European Commission does not reject the draft KPOWM in whole or in part, it is adopted by a regulation of the Council of Ministers. Rejection of the KPOWM project by the European Commission results in the the need to amend the project; rejection in full results in the obligation to develop a new KPOWM.

KPOWM update and the next RDSM planning cycle

Like other elements of the Marine Strategy, the KPOWM is reviewed every 6 years and, if necessary, updated (in the same manner as it was adopted). The minister responsible for water management should inform the European Commission, the Baltic Sea Environment Protection Commission and the interested European Union Member States of the update within three months of its adoption, after obtaining the consent of the Council of Ministers. Within three years from the adoption of the KPOWM and after each update, the minister responsible for water management submits a progress report on its implementation to the European Commission.

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Summary of public consultations

KZGW has completed the consultation process and consideration of the comments submitted to the KPOWM draft. During public consultations, which ended on March 29, 2016, institutions and residents involved in the protection of the Baltic Sea, submitted 256 comments to KPOWM and the EIA forecast.

The main task of public consultations was to establish a social dialogue with the stakeholders of the National Sea Water Protection Program, as well as to check whether the problems, goals and recommended measures identified by experts, included in the KPOWM draft, are acceptable to representatives of various social groups.

During the preparation of the final version of the draft, the submitted comments were analyzed, and a significant part of them was included in the document. In total, 256 comments were received, of which almost 66% were taken into account and 16% were partly taken into account. Only 17% of the comments were not included in the final draft of KPOWM, for which appropriate explanations were prepared.

More than 150 comments from the consultations concerned the main document of KPOWM. The remaining ones concerned most of the appendices to the program, and only a few comments were directly included in the content of the EIA. Out of all the submitted comments, as many as 244 were substantive comments.

Their comments and proposals were sent, among others, by the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, the Chief Inspectorate of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Maritime Search and Rescue Service and the Maritime Offices in Gdynia and Szczecin. WWF also submitted 15 comments to the document.

Notably, in the opinions and letters submitted, the majority of units positively assessed the prepared document and the analytical work carried out in a relatively short period. A collective study of the submitted comments and their analysis, the manner of consideration and conclusions will be presented on the website

KPOWM will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment, and after interministerial consultations – submitted for approval by the Council of Ministers. The accepted document will be sent for evaluation to the European Commission.

KPOWM will be a catalog of recommendations to be implemented by water users and the administration.

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Public consultations concluded

The deadline for submitting comments to the National Sea Waters Protection Programme and the environmental assessment to the NSWPP expired on 29 March 2009.

The National Water Management Authority received over 130 comments to the aforesaid documents. Some of them included suggestions concerning amending deadlines or rephrasing provisions included in the documents, some were linked with the subject-related changes in the projects.
All opinions and submissions are being now analysed by a group of experts responsible for drafting the documents. Following the final agreements, the documents will be published on along with the public consultations summary report, summary of the strategic environmental assessment and final version of the National Sea Waters Protection Programme.

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World Oceans Day

During the World Oceans Day, on 22 March, the Baltic States will celebrate the Baltic Sea Protection day, founded by the Helsinki Committee.

The goal of the event is to make the international community aware of the urge to undertake immediate actions in order to improve the condition of the Baltic Sea. One of the most shallow seas in the world, it is also one of the most polluted water body. The core threats endangering its ecosystem include the progressing eutrophication connected first and foremost with the influx of biogenes from the land-based sources, intensive and unregulated fishing, wastes that end up in the seawaters.

Those and other threats have already been identified and analysed as part of the National Sea Waters Protection Programme (KPOWM). The document describes the measures and actions that need to be taken in order to maintain or improve the Baltic Sea’s condition – there are 57 of such measures in total (including administrative, legal, control, education and investment steps).

The draft National Sea Waters Protection Programme will conclude the multistage process required by the Framework Marine Strategy Directive, which introduces integrated marine policy on the national, regional and EU level.

Until the 29 of March, everyone may submit your comments to the draft KPOWM.

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The National Sea Waters Protection Programme Conference as part of the public consultations, Sopot, 16 March 2016

Do we really care about the Baltic Sea? What kind of harmful substances can be found in the

Baltic fish? How much waste is there floating in our sea? What is the underwater noise?

The National Water Management Authority (NWMA) organised consultation meeting with experts of the protection of the Baltic seawaters. Dedicated to the draft National Sea Waters Protection Programme (NSWPP), the meeting took place on 16 March, in Sopot. Participants included more than 70 people connected with the sea management, water management, sailing, representatives of the central and local authorities, scientists and private entities.


The National Sea Waters Protection Programme is one of the essential strategic documents for the water sector and sets forth measures that are to help to improve the Baltic Sea. This document is addressed not only at the national authorities but at everyone who is interested in the welfare of our sea, said Iwona Koza who is the acting President of the NWMA. We have been actively supporting the welfare of the Baltic Sea and the NSWPP is a natural consequence of the efforts. We set forth what should be done and how much it may cost to implement the programme. Of course, we have to remember that it is a multiannual and at the same time very ambitious programme and implementation thereof requires involvement of various groups and circles, added President Koza. As of 8 March, the draft NSWPP has been undergoing the process of public consultations, both on the website and in the office of the NWMA in Warsaw and the RWMA in Gdańsk and Szczecin. All parties interested in protecting the Baltic Sea have the opportunity to familiarise with the document and file their comments until 29 March 2016.

The document was developed based on the analysis of the current status of the sea environment and specific environmental objectives. It sets forth measures that should be implemented in order to maintain or improve the condition of the Baltic Sea. In total, the NSWPP provides 57 of such measures (including administrative, legal, control, education and investment steps), whereas implementation thereof has been estimated to cost nearly 3.2 billion zloty. These measures complement the activities planned in other plans and programmes, e.g. the National Programme for Communal Wastewater Treatment.
Each proposed new measure has undergone cost and benefit as well as quantity and quality analysis, which helped to confirm its appropriateness. The status of the Baltic Sea is determined by 11 core factors, 5 of which require improvement and only 4 are consistent with the approved standards (2 failed to be evaluated). The proposed measures will help to improve the specific factors and the status of the seawaters in the nearest future. The draft NSWPP estimates that the measures should be implemented until 2020, although the environmental objectives for the Baltic Sea may be implemented within the planning horizon ending in 2027.


Additional information:
The Baltic Sea’s condition is determined by 11 core features:
1. Biodiversity
2. Alien species
3. Commercially fished species of fish and shellfish
4. Food chain
5. Eutrophication
6. Integrity of the sea bottom
7. Hydrographic conditions
8. Pollutants and the impact thereof
9. Pollutants in fish and seafood
10. Litter and waste in the sea
11. Underwater noise

Features requiring the most attention 
• C1 – Biodiversity
• C3 – Commercially fished species of fish and invertebrate
• C5 – Eutrophication (which, indirectly, influences the other features)
• C6 – Integrity of sea bottom
Features representing good environmental status 
• C4 – Food chain
• C7 – Hydrographic conditions
• C8 – Pollutants and the impact thereof
• C9 – Pollutants in fish and seafood
The key threats include:

The progressing eutrophication (C5) connected with the inflow of biogens from the land sources into the seawaters (caused by intensive agriculture, lack of appropriate restrictions for waste treatment facilities and emission of excessive amounts of phosphorus into the seawaters, impact of large factories), and thereby the disappearance of biodiversity (C1), disruption of the food chain (C4) and the violated integrity of the sea bottom caused by impact on the benthic habitats (C6);

Intensive and unregulated fishing;

Mining aggregates, storing dredged material, damages/distorted structures caused by bottom trawling, structure changes initiated by the works in harbours and protection of the seacoast;

Development of harbour and sailing infrastructure, uncontrolled development of hydrotechnical infrastructure (connected with, among others, permanent construction development of the seacoast), irrational sailing;

Litter and waste in the seawaters;

Sunk WW2 shipwrecks, including Stuttgart shipwreck;

Inefficient monitoring, hence lack of access to the complex data necessary to determine the current status.

The key measures proposed by the NSWPP:

• Air monitoring of the wastes
• Equipment collecting waste from the ships in the harbours
• Fishing for litter
• Introducing a ban on discharging untreated sanitary waste
• Development and promotion of the Code of Good Agricultural Practices
• Increasing access to data concerning accidental fishing of protected sea species.
• Development and promotion of the natural gas as the fuel used by ships
• Supervising equipment collecting waste and cargo leftovers from the ships
• Educational and information campaign dedicated to the rational use of rainfalls
• Promoting the Polish Code of Responsible Fishing

Successes in the sea strategy implemented in Poland in recent years 
In recent years, Poland has undertaken numerous activities that significantly contributed to the improvement of the seawaters as well as the knowledge thereof. They include:

• Implementation of the Framework Marine Strategy Directive – development of the key planning documents necessary to draft and implement marine strategy in Poland, 
• Implementation of KPOŚK/PWŚK, contributing to the improvement of the quality of land waters as well as reduction of the inflow of the biogens (particularly nitrogen), including the sea, 
• Decreased fishing pressure, improved fishing management and implementation of the Common Fishing Policy (it helped to improve the LFI),
• Implementation of the protection measures connected with Nature 2000,
• Improved and intensified monitoring of the seawaters, both basic and additional (e.g. pilot implementation of the sea species and habitats monitoring in 2015-2018, GIOS),
• Various research projects carried out by research institutes and focused on the marine environment (e.g. SAMBAH, ECO-DUMP, Baltic Bottom Bed, Habitat Mapping and others).

1st cycle

Protect the sea – take part in the consultations of the National Marine Waters Protection Programme

What kind of harmful substances can be found in Baltic fish?

How much litter is there in our sea?

What is the underwater noise?

The President of the National Water Management Authority is taking the opportunity to inform that in line with the provisions of the Water Law, the process of consulting the draft National Marine Waters Protection Programme (NMWPP) and the strategic environmental assessment has started.
The draft of the most important strategic document for the Polish part of the Baltic Sea published on 8 March 2016 is available at Based on the analysis of the current environmental status of the sea, the NMWPP sets forth targets and the scope of measures necessary to be undertaken in order to maintain or improve the aforesaid status.
The Baltic Sea’s status has been determined by 11 core indicators, out of which, as many as 5 require improvement and only 4 are consistent with the approved standards. In the nearest future, Poland should focus on ensuring applicable biodiversity or reducing inflow of substances that cause uncontrolled growth of harmful organisms (e.g. cyanobacteria).
We would like to encourage you to take time to acquaint with the draft Programme and use the electronic questionnaire available on the website to send your comments. Paper version of the document is also available in the headquarters of the National Water Management Authority and the offices of the Regional Water Management Authorities in Gdańsk and Szczecin. You will find the addresses of the institutions on the website
The NMWPP consultations will be carried from 8 to 29 March 2016.
The President of the National Water Management Authority is obliged to draft the Marine Waters Protection Programme pursuant to article 61 paragraph 1 of the Act of 18 July 2001 The Water Law (Journal of Laws of 2015, item 469, as amended), whereas, it is consulted in the course of public consultations pursuant to article 61 section 5 of the Act.
The assessments of the forecasted impact of the draft “National Marine Waters Protection Programme” on the environment are completed as part of the procedure dedicated to the environmental assessment of the consequences of the implementation of the plans, referred to as the strategic environmental assessment.