Bonus Projects



New BONUS BALTCOAST publication available

The first of a series of publications on practical applications of the System Approach Framework within the BONUS BALTCOAST case study sites is now available.

Establishing new bathing sites at the Curonian Lagoon coast: an ecological-social-economic assessment

By Schernewski G., Baltranaitė E., Kataržytė M., Balčiūnas A., Čerkasova N., Mėžinė J.


The large southern Baltic lagoons (Curonian, Vistula and Szczecin Lagoon) face a similar challenge, the need for economic, especially touristic development. This development is hampered by poor water quality, namely eutrophication with regular algae blooms and low water transparency and often insufficient bathing water quality. Therefore, beaches and bathing sites, one precondition for tourist development, are often lacking. Using the Curonian Lagoon as case study, we apply a Systems Approach Framework (SAF) and especially an Ecological-Social-Economic (ESE) assessment to analyse, whether it is reasonable to establish new beaches, against the background of an improved sewage treatment. In this systematic, stepwise and participatory Integrated Coastal Zone Management approach, we guide and support municipalities from the issue identification towards the final implementation by developing alternative scenarios, using model simulations and carrying out tourist surveys as well as supporting socio-economic studies. The present state of bathing water quality does allow opening a new bathing site with a beach at the lagoon and one town decided to do so. The socio-economic analyses did show that lagoon water quality and the possibility to go for a swim is not sufficiently important for tourists on the Curonian Spit, that opening a beach would make sense from an economic point of view. However, high lagoon water temperatures may help to extend the summer bathing season and a beach is regarded as additional attraction for tourists. A systematic involvement of stakeholders was imperative in this case study and we provide lessons learnt for a successful participatory process.


Integrated coastal zone management; Systems approach framework; Tourist survey; Water quality perception; Bathing water quality; Escherichia coli; Enterococci

The publication is openly accessible here:

Further BONUS BALTCOAST publications are available on the projet website:

Return to headlines