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Water 2018, 10(4), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10040439

Evaluation of Restoration and Flow Interactions on River Structure and Function: Channel Widening of the Thur River, Switzerland

1
EAWAG, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
2
Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH-Zürich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
3
Institut für Biologie, Freie Universität Berlin, D-14195 Berlin, Germany
4
BBIB, Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research, D-14195 Berlin, Germany
5
ZHAW, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Grüental, 8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
6
eQcharta GmbH, Ecohydrology in Application, Tiefenhofstrasse 68, 8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 7 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Restoration of Biodiversity in Streams and Rivers)
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Abstract

Removal of lateral constraints to restore rivers has become increasingly common in river resource management, but little is known how the interaction of de-channelization with flow influences ecosystem structure and function. We evaluated the ecosystem effects of river widening to improve sediment relations in the Thur River, Switzerland, 12 years after implementation. We tested if restored and non-restored reaches differed in water physico-chemistry, hyporheic function, primary production, and macroinvertebrate density and composition in relation to the flow regime. Our results showed that (i) spatio-temporal variation in sediment respiration and macroinvertebrate taxonomic richness were driven by interactions between restoration and flow; (ii) riverbed conditions including substrate size, organic matter content, and groundwater–surface water exchange changed due to restoration, but (iii) physico-chemistry, hydraulic conditions, and primary production were not altered by restoration. Importantly, our study revealed that abiotic conditions, except channel morphology, changed only marginally, whereas other ecosystem attributes responded markedly to changes in flow-restoration interactions. These results highlight integrating a more holistic ecosystem perspective in the design and monitoring of restoration projects such as river widening in resource management, preferably in relation to flow-sediment regimes and interactions with the biotic components of the ecosystem. View Full-Text
Keywords: flow regime; river restoration; sediment regime; sediment respiration; periphyton; macroinvertebrates; ecosystem structure and function; channelization flow regime; river restoration; sediment regime; sediment respiration; periphyton; macroinvertebrates; ecosystem structure and function; channelization
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Martín, E.J.; Ryo, M.; Doering, M.; Robinson, C.T. Evaluation of Restoration and Flow Interactions on River Structure and Function: Channel Widening of the Thur River, Switzerland. Water 2018, 10, 439.

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