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Hydrology 2018, 5(1), 20;

Estimation of Stream Health Using Flow-Based Indices

Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX 76402, USA
Biological Systems Engineering, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL 32307, USA
Texas AgriLife Research, Blackland Research and Extension Center, Temple, TX 76502, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 January 2018 / Revised: 10 March 2018 / Accepted: 11 March 2018 / Published: 15 March 2018
PDF [2618 KB, uploaded 15 March 2018]


Existing methods to estimate stream health are often location-specific, and do not address all of the components of stream health. In addition, there are very few guidelines to estimate the health of a stream, although the literature and useful tools such as Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration (IHA) are available. This paper describes an approach developed for estimating stream health. The method involves the: (1) collection of flow data; (2) identification of hydrologic change; (3) estimation of some hydrologic indicators for pre-alteration and post-alteration periods; and (4) the use of those hydrologic indicators with the scoring framework of the Dundee Hydrologic Regime Assessment Method (DHRAM). The approach estimates the stream health in aggregate including all of the components, such as riparian vegetation, aquatic species, and benthic organisms. Using the approach, stream health can be estimated at two different levels: (1) the existence or absence of a stream health problem based on the concept of eco-deficit and eco-surplus using flow duration curves; and (2) the estimation of overall stream health using the IHA–DHRAM method. The procedure is demonstrated with a case example of the White Rock Creek watershed in Texas in the United States (US). The approach has great potential to estimate stream health and prescribe flow-based goals for the restoration of impaired streams. View Full-Text
Keywords: White Rock Creek; eco-deficit; eco-surplus; IHA; DHRAM; hydrologic alteration White Rock Creek; eco-deficit; eco-surplus; IHA; DHRAM; hydrologic alteration

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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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Kannan, N.; Anandhi, A.; Jeong, J. Estimation of Stream Health Using Flow-Based Indices. Hydrology 2018, 5, 20.

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