How to evaluate environmental impacts of dredging on bird populations?
An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is mandatory for projects with potentially significant environmental impacts. The EIA describes and evaluates the impacts of the project on species and habitats.
This can often be difficult in case of migrating waterbirds as they flexibly use different and widely distributed wintering habitats. Impacts therefore have to be assessed on the respective population level.
Individual-based models (IBMs) allow simulating the behaviour of individuals of one or more species in a defined spatial and temporal setting.
Aim of the study was to demonstrate the benefits of using IBMs in an EIA. Using the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link as a case study, we predicted the impacts of the tunnel construction works on common eider populations wintering in the Fehmarnbelt.
The model formed a highly useful basis for the Environmental Impact Assessment of this large infrastructure project.