- Case study area description and end users
Vistula Lagoon is one of the largest inner marine water basin in Europe (second after Curonian Lagoon in the Baltic Sea) of an area 838 km2 and a drainage basin of 23,870 km2. It is shared by one EU-state (Poland) and one non-EU state (Russia). 473 km2 belongs to Russia, and the remaining part to Poland. It has the single inlet – the Baltiysk Strait, located on the Russian part of the lagoon. The lagoon has an elongated shape, going from south-west to north-east, with a length of 91 km. The average width of the lagoon is about 9 km, at the widest point – 13 km. The length of the coastline is of about 270 km, and the volume of water in the Lagoon is about 2.3 km3. It is a shallow coastal ecosystem. The average depth of the lagoon is 2.7 m, and the maximum natural depth is 5.2 m close to the Baltiysk Strait.
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- Spatial Planning and Governance
Spatial plans of sea areas (without coastal land) are drafted by Director of Maritime Office in Gdansk (i.e., maritime administration). On coastal land (with no extension into the sea area) responsibility for spatial planning is divided among the self-governmental authorities of municipality and voivodship (province). Spatial plans on municipality level are drafted by Mayor of the Municipality and accepted by the Municipality Council. There are two types of them:
1. “study of conditions and directions of spatial management of municipality, which covers the whole area of municipality and is indicative,
2. “local land use plan”, which cover only a selected area within the municipality and is an act of local law (Cieślak, Zaucha, 2009).
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- Socio-economic and policies issues
According to the HELCOM Baltic Sea Joint Comprehensive Action Programme (HELCOM 1992 & 1998), the Vistula Lagoon has been identified as a priority “Hot Spot” which is in need of a comprehensive environmental management program. The Vistula Lagoon with its drainage basin is shared by two countries: Poland and Russia. Poland is the EU member starting from May 1st 2004 but Russia is not, therefore they face different obligations with regard to water management of the lagoon drainage basin. Poland has to implement WFD but Russia does not have such obligation.
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Pictures of Vistula Lagoon available here.