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Commercial

DNR at HeathrowThe proposal to create a third runway at Heathrow international airport is a project of national and international importance. The second major consultation phase to the general public runs from 18th June to 13th September.
AQASS were requested to provide expert ongoing input to help the Crane Valley Partnership (CVP), as a major consultee on water, environment and green infrastructure, prior and during the consultation phase, as well as represent the CVP at meetings with the Heathrow team.
Dr Ilse Steyl of AQASS has a background in water resources management, river and habitat restoration and social and natural capital assessment of river / freshwater resources using geospatial analysis. Ilse’s international experience in water resources management is a valuable asset to the CVP and her knowledge has provided value to proposal responses regarding management of freshwater courses potentially affected by the runway development.
Pilivili, MozambiqueAQASS Ltd are working with MarineSpace Ltd providing specialist marine ecology and physical habitat assessment analysis and reporting for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the northern Mozambique coast. The project aims to assess habitat status and vulnerability to enable future management of complex estuarine habitat and species against area needs.
Upper Duke of Northumberland's RiverThames Water are gathering data to embark on a set of projects / themes for “Smarter Water Catchments” to understand area needs and how working with key stakeholders can help build more effectively functioning river catchments. To assist in this process, a Natural Capital approach has been proposed for three pilot areas in which Thames Water are active, namely the Crane, Evenlode and Chess catchments. As part of the team, AQASS sees this as an exciting opportunity to engage in an integrated catchment management approach, working with Thames Water and other water managers in these catchments.
AQASS undertook a project to consider potential effects from release of material into the sea for a major UK wide arts project. The work considered the material status, any related compounds and whether the levels of associated compounds to be released may have a deleterious effect on marine communities. We were pleased to work with the parent organisation who took an entirely responsible attitude towards the marine environment and complimented AQASS for informing their decisions on how to proceed with this important work. The responsible approach to the project reflected a growing institutional and public awareness of the marine environment and human effects on marine ecosystems.
Lower River CraneAQASS has been appointed to manage the feasibility and optioneering phase of the lower River Crane restoration / rehabilitation project in west London. This 3 km stretch of river at the bottom of the Crane catchment is an over-widened concrete channel, often hidden from view. The impacts of urbanisation on this stretch of river is very evident and has affected the physical structure, water quality, water quantity, geomorphology and its ability to support wildlife dramatically. This is a very ambitious project, that seeks to enhance a significant stretch of river in a very populated part of London and AQASS is pleased to be a team member at this stage of the scheme.
AQASS undertook a study for the International Maritime Organisation (UN) considering research into microplastic release from management, use and in-water cleaning of antifouling paints and marine coatings in general. The study identified pollutant sources, available research, and highlighted policies and recommendations from researchers in the field. Further to this, the study recommended areas where further work is required to establish the significance, or otherwise, of this microplastics source to marine ecosystems.
You can download the report from the IMO website.
AQASS was requested to specify a phase one habitat survey for a proposed UK marina extension in an area with international, EU and national conservation designations. Further to this, AQASS delivered the survey and managed the field team with subsequent results analysis and reporting. This led to further requests to develop an Appropriate Assessment (AA) and Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) with recommended mitigation options which were well received by local and county level authorities.
AQASS was sub-contracted to input into a World Bank study considering pollution sources in the Arabian Gulf. We provided technical expertise and assessment of research to inform future policy options regarding pollution management and feasibility studies plus financial resources required to upgrade sewage systems and desalination plant effects.
IMO Newsletter Article screenshotAQASS undertook a desktop study considering the difficulties of environmentally and ecologically sound disposal of fibre re-inforced plastic boats.
Recognising the logistical difficulties of fibre re-inforced plastic boat disposal, the study is particularly interested in the problem and its impact in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). To understand the rationale behind the study, you can read an article published in the Winter 2017 edition of the IMO News (page 23).
You can download the report from the IMO website.
River HambleAQASS is providing support and ecological / environmental guidance to Lymington Technical Services for a novel approach to the beneficial use of dredge spoil for saltmarsh and intertidal mudflat habitat restoration in the River Hamble, Hampshire. In addition to habitat restoration, the enhancement of related ecosystem services (primarily passive coastal protection) is a potential outcome that is coupled with drives to enhance valuable intertidal habitat for feeding bird species and benthic and pelagic fauna.
DolphinAQASS undertook a desktop study for Fugro GB Marine considering the Persian Gulf, in the region of Iran, Qatar and Bahrain. This provided an environmental baseline of ecological assets and a broad ranging data review identifying data gaps and areas where data sharing may supplant knowledge shortages. The study highlighted regional and local human pressures on the marine environment and, with specific consideration of ecosystem services, recommended approaches to survey activities to ensure best practice and impact minimisation.
Sea TurtleAQASS provided support to Fugro GB Marine for an environmental / ecological study considering a remote offshore area of Papua New Guinea. A desktop review and data assessment was undertaken to highlight knowledge gaps in the region and to identify potential sensitivities and areas for more research. The study was used to guide refine a field survey and considered biotic and abiotic factors and relation of subsequent work in the region to provisioning and cultural ecosystem services.
Malawi Water AbstractionAQASS supported EOH Coastal and Environmental Services in the technical review of an Environmental and Social Due Diligence study considering water resource and water quality management and abstraction plans for a mixed agricultural business in Malawi. The review considered the sustainability of water efficiency proposals and suggested modifications and enhancement to data presentation to further ensure the sustainability of planned abstraction, particularly in relation to important wetlands and associated ecological communities
MicroscopeAQASS carried out a study to identify core sample paleo-environmental shell remains from the North Sea. The work was used to clarify the ecological community existing at the site. Further to this, data were used to indicate the prevailing environmental conditions including salinity and wave exposure as a guide to suggest morphology of the coastal / nearshore environment and prevailing hydrological conditions.
AQASS were requested to undertake a research review in relation to non-toxic silicone based antifoul paints and possible concerns raised regarding organotin catalyst material used in their production. The research review considered the levels of catalyst in the paints and the possibility for toxic effects on biofouling and non-target species. Recommendations were made to achieve the study through independent laboratories to assess organotin levels in silicone based foul release coatings in relation to permitted levels.
AQASS undertook an assessment of levels of contamination in Belfast harbour sediments, related ecological and environmental risks and potential sources. Data were assessed and mapped to indicate concentration gradients and to assist with the future of sediments and options to leave in place or to undertake planned dredging campaigns and options for management of the sediments in relation to ecological and environmental risk.

Research

By request from major Far East universities, AQASS undertook reviews for grant requests for major projects considering marine pollution and community change. These comprised:

  • 2019 - Hong Kong University: Man-made intertidal habitats on the mainland Chinese coast and differential colonisation of intertidal species related to thermal change and global warming.
  • 2019 - Hong Kong University: Microplastics pollution, Interactions with PAHs in mangrove wetlands
  • 2019 - Hong Kong University: Meta-organisms: the adaptive role of host-microbiome interactions in warming oceans;
  • 2019 - Hong Kong University: Crabs as early warning sentinels of ecological degradation in mangroves? A case study on heavy metal pollution in Hong Kong mangroves;
  • 2019 - Hong Kong University: Thermal physiological plasticity in a marine ectotherm across its geographic distribution;
  • 2019 - Hong Kong University: Mangrove carbon export and utilisation by intertidal / subtidal species;
  • 2018 - Hong Kong University: Review of the future of a keystone grazer: physiological and nutritional responses of an urchin to ocean warming across its geographical range;
  • 2018 - Hong Kong University: Review of the assessment of carbon detritus chain and macrofauna in mangrove communities;
  • 2018 - Hong Kong University: Review of spatial and temporal plasticity and genetic potential in tropical marine organisms influenced by temperature and pH change;
  • 2017 - National University of Singapore: Review of novel bio-inspired antifoul approach proposal, ecological risks, toxicity and sustainably;
  • 2017 - Hong Kong University: Review of phytoplankton bloom derived toxic compounds proposal, and genetic effects on marine community in Hong Kong Harbour;
  • 2017 - Hong Kong University: Review of long-term data set and temporal and spatial community change from human disturbance gradient proposal.
  • 2017 - Hong Kong University: Review of plant protein uptake of nitrates and potential to manage aquatic nutrient excess
  • AQASS co-supervises a PhD at Portsmouth University considering non-native species and related community function.
  • AQASS team member, Dr Simon Bray, has previously co-supervised two PhDs at the University of Southampton considering (i) the potential biodiversity benefits of porous coastal defence structures and (ii) intertidal mudflat and saltmarsh conservation in the Solent, UK.
  • Water management for habitats and humans;
  • Team developing papers in multi-criteria analysis for prioritisation of beneficial dredge spoil use for habitat restoration;
  • Using interactive mapping to improve project data delivery;
  • Chronic and acute marine pollution management;
  • Antifoul effects and sustainable approaches;
  • Habitat restoration and creation, coastal structures, benthic communities.