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Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 73, Issue 5, pp 2079–2100 | Cite as

A review of assessment methods for river hydromorphology

  • B. Belletti
  • M. Rinaldi
  • A. D. Buijse
  • A. M. Gurnell
  • E. Mosselman
Original Article

Abstract

Numerous hydromorphological assessment methods have been developed in different countries during recent decades, with notable differences in their aims, scales, and approaches. Although these methods are increasingly applied to support river management, the strengths and limitations have been insufficiently investigated. This review of 121 methods analyses hydromorphological assessment methods dating from 1983 to 2013, identifying their main strengths, limitations, gaps, the potential to integrate different approaches, and the need for further improvements. For this purpose methods have been grouped into four categories: (1) physical habitat assessment; (2) riparian habitat assessment; (3) morphological assessment; (4) assessment of hydrological regime alteration. Seventeen categories of information covering general characteristics, recorded features and river processes encompassing over 90 features were recorded for each method reviewed, allowing a comparative analysis of the four assessment categories. The main gap in most methods is insufficient consideration of physical processes. Thus, an integrated hydromorphological analysis is recommended, where the morphological and hydrological components are the key parts to classify hydromorphological conditions. Additional physical and riparian habitat methods strengthen the link with ecological conditions.

Keywords

Hydromorphology Physical habitats Riparian habitats Hydrological regime Morphological alteration 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The work leading to this paper has received funding for the EU’s FP7 under Grant Agreement No. 282656 (REFORM). W. Bertoldi and W. Van de Bund are acknowledged for their inputs and comments. The REFORM colleagues are acknowledged for providing information on the methods adopted for WFD implementation: N. Friberg, G. Geerling, M. Gielczewski, M. Gonzales del Tanago, A. Henshaw, J. Kail, B. Lastoria, S. Mariani, A. Marzin, S. Muhar, P. Pollard (REFORM Advisory Board), M.C. Perez, P. Reichert, L. Sandin, J. Segersten, M. Staras, C. Wolter.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Belletti
    • 1
  • M. Rinaldi
    • 1
  • A. D. Buijse
    • 2
  • A. M. Gurnell
    • 3
  • E. Mosselman
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.DeltaresDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Queen Mary University of LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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