Ecole Nationale du Genie de lEau et lEnvironnement de Strasbourg ENGEES

Strasbourg, France

Ecole Nationale du Genie de lEau et lEnvironnement de Strasbourg ENGEES

Strasbourg, France
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Gallart F.,Surface Hydrology and Erosion Group | Cid N.,University of Barcelona | Cid N.,Institute Of Recerca Of La Biodiversitat Irbio | Latron J.,Surface Hydrology and Erosion Group | And 14 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2017

When the regime of a river is not perennial, there are four main difficulties with the use of hydrographs for assessing hydrological alteration: i) the main hydrological features relevant for biological communities are not quantitative (discharges) but qualitative (phases such as flowing water, stagnant pools or lack of surface water), ii) stream flow records do not inform on the temporal occurrence of stagnant pools, iii) as most of the temporary streams are ungauged, their regime has to be evaluated by alternative methods such as remote sensing or citizen science, and iv) the biological quality assessment of the ecological status of a temporary stream must follow a sampling schedule and references adapted to the flow- pool-dry regime. To overcome these challenges within an operational approach, the freely available software tool TREHS has been developed within the EU LIFE TRIVERS project. This software permits the input of information from flow simulations obtained with any rainfall-runoff model (to set an unimpacted reference stream regime) and compares this with the information obtained from flow gauging records (if available) and interviews with local people, as well as instantaneous observations by individuals and interpretation of ground-level or aerial photographs. Up to six metrics defining the permanence of water flow, the presence of stagnant pools and their temporal patterns of occurrence are used to determine natural and observed river regimes and to assess the degree of hydrological alteration. A new regime classification specifically designed for temporary rivers was developed using the metrics that measure the relative permanence of the three main phases: flow, disconnected pools and dry stream bed. Finally, the software characterizes the differences between the natural and actual regimes, diagnoses the hydrological status (degree of hydrological alteration), assesses the significance and robustness of the diagnosis and recommends the best periods for biological quality samplings. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

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