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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(9), 11699-11717; doi:10.3390/ijerph120911699

Assessment of River Habitat Quality in the Hai River Basin, Northern China

1
State Key Laboratory on Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Science, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100085, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 9 July 2015 / Revised: 21 August 2015 / Accepted: 24 August 2015 / Published: 17 September 2015
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Abstract

We applied a river habitat quality (RHQ) assessment method to the Hai River Basin (HRB); an important economic centre in China; to obtain baseline information for water quality improvement; river rehabilitation; and watershed management. The results of the assessment showed that the river habitat in the HRB is seriously degraded. Specifically; 42.41% of the sites; accounting for a river length of 3.31 × 104 km; were designated poor and bad. Habitat in the plain areas is seriously deteriorated; and nearly 50% of the sites; accounting for a river length of 1.65 × 104 km; had either poor or bad habitats. River habitat degradation was attributable to the limited width of the riparian zone (≤5 m); lower coverage of riparian vegetation (≤40%); artificial land use patterns (public and industrial land); frequent occurrence of farming on the river banks and high volumes of solid waste (nearly 10 m3); single flow channels; and rare aquatic plants (≤1 category). At the regional scale; intensive artificial land use types caused by urbanization had a significant impact on the RHQ in the HRB. RHQ was significantly and negatively correlated with farmland (r = 1.000; p < 0.01) and urban land (r = 0.998; p < 0.05); and was significantly and positively correlated with grassland and woodland (r = 1.000; p < 0.01). Intensive artificial land use; created through urbanization processes; has led to a loss of the riparian zone and its native vegetation; and has disrupted the lateral connectivity of the rivers. The degradation of the already essentially black rivers is exacerbated by poor longitudinal connectivity (index of connectivity is 2.08–16.56); caused by reservoirs and sluices. For river habitat rehabilitation to be successful; land use patterns need to be changed and reservoirs and sluices will have to be regulated. View Full-Text
Keywords: assessment; river habitat quality; Hai River Basin; indicator; scoring system; impact factor assessment; river habitat quality; Hai River Basin; indicator; scoring system; impact factor
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ding, Y.; Shan, B.; Zhao, Y. Assessment of River Habitat Quality in the Hai River Basin, Northern China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 11699-11717.

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