, Volume 655, Issue 1, pp 1-14,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 03 Sep 2010

Lessons from practice: assessing early progress and success in river rehabilitation


This article comprises a literature analysis of 41 river rehabilitation projects to assess the short-term (5 years) ability of indicator groups to demonstrate progress towards river rehabilitation goals. Positive indications were compared to land-use, river size, rehabilitation intervention and time. A questionnaire was developed to investigate river manager’s interpretation of rehabilitation success and to assess their level of adherence to recommendations in the literature with regard to rehabilitation assessment on a conceptual level. A total of 54 responses were received from respondents based in Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The results indicate that macroinvertebrate indicators, while widely used in assessing river rehabilitation efforts, exhibited a lower frequency of positive responses than most other indicator types in the short term. Conversely, terrestrial floodplain indicators exhibited the most frequent level of positive response for all ecological type indicators leading to recommendations for further investigations into their use for short-term monitoring. Assessment procedures recommended in literature are largely followed, illustrating the advances that have been made with regard to assessment planning. Indicator responses are influenced by scale factors, for example, land-use and river size, that are often not considered by rehabilitation managers. While an emphasis is placed on ecological, hydrological and morphological indicators in monitoring schemes, the socioeconomic perspective (emphasized in the literature as forming an integral part of the river system) is neglected.

Handling editor: S. M. Thomaz