Articles | Volume 6, issue 3
30 Jun 2002
30 Jun 2002

The prediction and management of aquatic nitrogen pollution across Europe: an introduction to the Integrated Nitrogen in European Catchments project (INCA)

A. J. Wade, P. G. Whitehead, and L. C. M. O’Shea

Abstract. Excess nitrogen in soils, fresh water, estuarine and marine systems contributes to nutrient enrichment in key ecosystems throughout Europe, often leading to detrimental environmental impacts, such as soil acidification or the eutrophication of water bodies. The Integrated Nitrogenmodel for European Catchments (INCA) project aims to develop a generic version of the Integrated Nitrogen in Catchments (INCA) model to simulate the retention and transport of nitrogen within river systems, thereby providing a tool to aid the understanding of nitrogen dynamics and for river-basin management/policy-making. To facilitate the development of the model, 10 partners have tested the INCA model with data collected in study sites located in eight European countries as part of the INCA project. This paper summarises the key nitrogen issues within Europe, describes the main aims and methodology of the INCA project, and sets the project in the context of the current major research initiatives at a European level.

Keywords: Europe, European Union, nitrogen, nitrate, ammonium, river basin management, modelling, water chemistry, acidification, eutrophication, Water Framework Directive, INCA.