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    Reporting under Article 17 of the EU Habitats Directive requires member states to report on progress towards achieving favourable conservation status for habitats and species of Community Importance. The assessment of conservation status does not only relate to that component of the habitat area or species population to be found in Special Areas of Conservation, but to the totality of the habitats and species throughout the United Kingdom. The results of NRW's feature monitoring work and other evidence collected (survey) or collated (other data sources) on reef feature extent feed in to the process of mapping and reporting under Article 17. JNCC coordinate and provide UK-level feature reports under Article 17; England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland submit country-level data and information to inform these reports. This dataset only consists of the Welsh component of the Article 17 reef mapping.

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    A broadscale habitat layer was produced by analysising and interpreting the acoustic and ground truth data collected by Gardline onboard the MV Tridens onboard 29th February and 31st March 2012and RV Cefas Endeavour between 11th and 12th July 2012 . PSA data were used to assign each sample a EUNIS class which then informed theexpert visual interpretation process of map production. Updated version of earlier broadscale habitat feature class NWJB_20140912_BSH_DRAFT, with all polygons less than 200 sqm in area merged to neigbouring polygon with the longest shared border. Bathymetry and backscatter data collected by Gardline onboard the MV Tridens onboard 29th February and 31st March 2012 were used in conjunction with ground thruth samples to produce a Broadscale habitat map of North West of Jones Bank. Ground thruth samples were collected on both Gardline and Cefas survey cruises from 50 stations. Benthic grabs were taken at 44 stations. An underwater camera system was deployed at 17 stations to collect video and still information. Sediment samples were collected with a grab system consisting of a 0.1 m2 mini Hamon grab and Day Grab. On recovery, the grab was emptied into a large plastic bin and a representative subsample of sediment (approx. 0.5 litres) taken for particle size analysis (PSA). The remaining sample was photographed, then sieved over a 1 mm mesh to collect the benthic macrofauna. Camera deployments lasted a minimum of 10 minutes, with the vessel using its dynamic positioning capability to move along the planned transect at c. 0.5 knots (c. 0.25 ms-1) across a 100 m ‘bullring’ centred on the sampling station. Still photographic images were captured at one minute intervals and opportunistically if features of interest were observed. Video and photographic still images were processed by Envision Mapping Ltd in accordance with the guidance documents developed by Cefas and the JNCC for the acquisition and processing of video and still data (Coggan and Howell, 2005). Particle size analysis (PSA) was carried out by Cefas following standard laboratory practice, and results were checked by Cefas specialist staff following the recommendations of the National Marine Biological Analytical Quality Control (NMBAQC) scheme (Mason, 2011). Setup and operation followed the MESH ‘Recommended Operating Guidelines (ROG) for underwater video and photographic imaging techniques’ (Cogganet al., 2007).

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    Broadscale habitat (EUNIS level 3) for Offshore Brighton recommended Marine Conservation Zone (rMCZ). Seabed texture polygons mapped using expert interpretation of acoustic data (MBES bathymetry and backscatter) and groundtruthing data from PSA analysis and image (stills and video) classification. Using data collected during cruise CEND0812 on the RV Cefas Endeavour (29/04/12 to 14/06/12) and previous surveys. A new habitat map for the site was produced by analysing and interpreting the available acoustic data and the ground truth data collected by the dedicated survey of the Offshore Brighton rMCZ, in addition to existing modelled bathymetry (Astrium,2011). The process involves geological review and expert judgement to interpret the sediment textures present. To map substrata type across the rMCZ, we assessemed the sea bed and generated line work based on MBES, backscatter and derivatives (rugosity, slope) in conjunction with ground truth information (PSA, video and stills) in order to assign BSH classsifications. For further information, refer to the Offshore Brighton rMCZ Post-survey Site Report (Dove and Green, 2015).

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    Updated habitat map resulting from an integrated analysis of the dedicated 2012 survey data (CEND3/12b) for South East of Falmouth rMCZ. A new habitat map for the site was produced by analysing and interpreting the available acoustic data and the groundtruth data collected by the dedicated survey of this site. The process is a combination of two approaches, auto-classification (image analysis) and expert interpretation, as described below. The routine for auto-classification is flexible and dependent on site-specific data, allowing for application of a bespoke routine to maximise the acoustic data available. ArcGIS was used to perform an initial unsupervised classification on the supplied backscatter image. The single band backscatter mosaic was filtered and smoothed prior to the application of an Iso cluster/maximum likelihood classification routine. For further information, refer to the South-East Falmouth rMCZ Post-survey Site Report vs. 8 (Green, S. & Cooper, R., 2015).

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    Updated habitat map resulting from an intergrated analysis of the EGS 2012 acoustic data and the Cefas Survey of 2012 (Fulmar rMCZ groundtruthing survey onboard the RV Cefas Endeavour between 6 and 10 May 2012, Cruise ID: CEND 8/12). Sediment types at each ground-truthing station were used to inform a semi-automated process of map production using object-based image analysis (OBIA). The Majority of the seabed was classified as "A5.3 Subtidal mud" with smaller areas of "A5.4 Subtidal mixed sediments"

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    Updated habitat map resulting from an integrated analysis of the dedicated 2012 survey (CEND8/12a) data for Markham's Triangle rMCZ. Map created via unsupervised classification and expert interpretation. A new habitat map for the site was produced by analysing and interpreting the available acoustic data and the groundtruth data collected by the dedicated survey of this site. The process is a combination of two approaches, auto-classification (image analysis) and expert interpretation, as described below. The routine for auto-classification is flexible and dependent on site-specific data, allowing for application of a bespoke routine to maximise the acoustic data available. ArcGIS was used to perform an initial unsupervised classification on the supplied backscatter image. The single band backscatter mosaic was filtered and smoothed prior to the application of an Iso cluster/maximum likelihood classification routine. For further information, refer to: Green, S. & Cooper, R. (2013), Markham’s Triangle rMCZ Post-survey Site Report.

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    Feature class depicting broadscale habitat features at the Mid St George’s Channel rMCZ. The map is a result of an integrated analysis of newly acquired and previously available acoustic data together with ground-truthing data collected by a dedicated survey of the sitein 2013. Habitat classes observed at each ground-truthing station were used to inform a semi-automated process of map production using object-based image analysis (OBIA). The map shows the seabed at the site to be characterised largely by ‘A5.1 Subtidal coarse sediment’ and ‘A5.4 Subtidal mixed sediments’, which are mapped together as a complex due to difficulty in separating the two from the underlying acoustic data. Smaller patches of ‘A5.2 Subtidal sand’ and ‘A4.2 Moderate energy circalittoral rock’ are also found within the site. A new habitat map for the Mid St Georges Channel Marine recommended Marine Conservation Zone (rMCZ) was produced by analysing and interpreting newly acquired and previously available acoustic data together with ground-truthing data collected by a dedicated survey of the site. Full coverage multibeam echosounder (MBES) data covering 70% of the Mid St George’s Channel rMCZ was collected in 2012 by Osiris Projects. An additional block of full coverage MBES data was collected by RV Cefas Endeavour on CEND05/13, adding a further 5% area coverage of the site. The remaining 25% of the rMCZ has partial coverage (31%) MBES data collected under the Mid Irish Sea Project. More detail on the acoustic data used, and references to the aquisitieon reports can be found in the Mid St Georges Channel Marine rMCZ Post-Survey Site Report (Defra Contract Reference: MB0129; Report Number 29) Ground-truth sampling for the site was planned using a standard MCZ ground-truthing sampling grid, applied to different habitat types identified from the processed bathymetry and backscatter layers. Station positions were then modified to target features of interest, in particular suspected reef features. The survey was carried out between 1-6th May 2013 on the RV CEFAS Endeavour cruise CEND0513. Ground truth samples were collected from 130 stations. Benthic grab samples were recovered at 115 stations, video transects at 71stations and short (2 minute) deployments of the drop camera were carried out at a further 49 grab stations. Station metadata are presented in Appendix 1 of the Mid St George’s Channel rMCZ Post-Survey Site Report (Defra Contract Reference: MB0129; Report Number 29) and further detail on ground-truth sample collection can be found in the Site Report and the Mid St George’s Channel rMCZ Survey Report. The new habitat map was produced via a combination of object-based image analysis (OBIA) of the acoustic data, implemented in the software package eCognition® v8.7.2, and expert judgement aided by statistical analysis, linking the ground truth observations to the acoustic and topographic properties. Full methodology for production of the broadscale habitat layer, with appropriate references for methods used, can be found in the Mid St George’s Channel rMCZ Post-Survey Site Report.

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    Updated habitat map resulting from an integrated analysis of the 2012 (CEND 3/12a) and 2013 (CEND 5/13) dedicated survey data for East of Haig Fras recommended Marine Conservation Zone (rMCZ). It shows the seabed at the site to be a heterogenous fine scale mosaic of sand, coarse and mixed sediments, with mud habitat in deeper areas. The two broadscale habitats ‘A5.1 Subtidal coarse sediment’ and ‘A5.4 Mixed sediments’ are presented as a complex ‘A5.1/A5.4 Subtidal coarse/mixed sediments’. They show no differentiation in their acoustic or topographical properties that would allow them to be mapped separately. The ‘A4 Circalittoral rock’ habitat is present in scattered small patches. Created with Object Based Image Analysis (OBIA) on acoustic data and groundtruthed samples. Acoustic data gathered by Gardline under tender, groundtruthing gathered by Cefas on cruises CEND 3/12a and CEND 5/13.

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    A broadscale habitat feature class was created to illustrate predicted extent of broadscale habitats present at Farnes East rMCZ. These broadscale habitats include 'Moderate energy circalittoral rock', 'Subtidal coarse sediment', 'Subtidal sand', 'Subtidal mud' and 'Subtidal mixed sediments' as determined from particle size analysis of sediment samples and descriptive analysis of still images from underwater camera data. The assigned classes at each ground-truth stationwere used to inform the semi-automated process of map production using object-based image analysis (OBIA)in combination with regression kriging. Groundtruthing data collected during 2012 on the RV Cefas Endeavour (surveyID CEND0412). Classification system details: EUNIS habitats and a separate FOCI layer. Survey technique details: 0.1m2 mini Hamon grab; Camera sledge; multibeam data colected by EGS under contract in 2012.