Special Issue "Environmental Flows, Ecological Quality and Ecosystem Services"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Ecosystems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Carles Ibáñez
Website
Guest Editor
IRTA, Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology, Program of Marine & Continental Waters
Interests: aquatic ecology; integrated management of water resources; climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Establishing proper environmental flows (e-flows) across river basins is one of the keystones to implement an integrated management of water resources. This is even more critical in water scarce river basins due to increasing water uses (i.e., irrigation) and climate change. Functions and values of aquatic ecosystems (i.e., water quality, sediment dynamics, productivity, biodiversity, ecosystem services, etc.) are influenced by river flow regime alterations. However, scientists and managers often find very difficult to quantitatively link the ecological status of aquatic ecosystems and their services to specific e-flow regimes. This Special Issue welcomes papers investigating the links among river flows, the status of aquatic ecosystems and the benefits they provide to our society, either from the science or management perspectives.  

Dr. Carles Ibáñez
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • river flow
  • aquatic ecosystems
  • water quality
  • biological indicators
  • water uses
  • water scarcity
  • natural capital

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Emerald Growth: A New Framework Concept for Managing Ecological Quality and Ecosystem Services of Transitional Waters
Water 2020, 12(3), 894; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030894 - 22 Mar 2020
Abstract
The aim of the present paper is to propose and elaborate on the concept of Emerald Growth as a new framework concept for managing ecological quality and ecosystem services of transitional waters. The research approach combines the longstanding experience of the authors of [...] Read more.
The aim of the present paper is to propose and elaborate on the concept of Emerald Growth as a new framework concept for managing ecological quality and ecosystem services of transitional waters. The research approach combines the longstanding experience of the authors of this article in the investigation of transitional waters of Europe with an analysis of relevant European Union directives and a comparative case study of two European coastal lagoons. The concept includes and reassesses traditional knowledge of the environment of lagoons and estuaries as an engine for sustainable development, but also proposes locally tailored approaches for the renewal of these unique areas. The investigation results show that the Emerald Growth concept enables to extricate better specific management aspects of ecosystem services of transitional waters that fill-in the continuum between the terrestrial (Green Growth) and the maritime areas (Blue Growth). It results from adjusting of both Green Growth and Blue Growth concepts, drivers, indicators and planning approaches regarding durable ways of revitalising coastal communities and their prospects for sustainable development. We conclude that the Emerald Growth concept offers a suitable framework for better dealing with complex and complicated issues pertinent to the sustainable management of transitional waters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Flows, Ecological Quality and Ecosystem Services)
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Open AccessArticle
A Comment on Chinese Policies to Avoid Negative Impacts on River Ecosystems by Hydropower Projects
Water 2020, 12(3), 869; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030869 - 20 Mar 2020
Abstract
The rapid economic development of river basins depends on the excessive use of water resources. China experienced a rapid development of hydropower projects in the last two decades and thus faces many ecological and environmental issues, especially in ecologically sensitive areas. Environmental flow [...] Read more.
The rapid economic development of river basins depends on the excessive use of water resources. China experienced a rapid development of hydropower projects in the last two decades and thus faces many ecological and environmental issues, especially in ecologically sensitive areas. Environmental flow is an important management tool that requires attention in the environmental impact assessment of hydropower projects. Environmental flows are of great significance for maintaining river structures and protecting the health of both aquatic ecosystems and human sustainable livelihoods. Although the government authorities have done much work in this area and attempted to consider technical requirements to address the negative externalities of hydropower projects, there are still defects in the basic procedures, calculation methods, and ultimately implementation process from policy to operationalization in terms of environmental flows. The official standards for environmental flows assessment mainly appear in two documents: 1. specification for calculation of environmental flow in rivers and lakes; and 2. code for calculation ecological flow of hydropower projects. This paper reviewed the overarching framework of the two documents and then summarized their fitness in terms of environmental flows implementation in hydropower projects. The research status of environmental flows and future directions for China were also proposed in this paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Flows, Ecological Quality and Ecosystem Services)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of an Ecological Flow Regime during the Ctenopharyngodon Idella Spawning Period Based on Reservoir Operations
Water 2019, 11(10), 2034; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102034 - 29 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The study of fish habitats is important for us to better understand the impact of reservoir construction on river ecosystems. Many habitat models have been developed in the past few decades. In this study, a fuzzy logic-based habitat model, which couples fuzzy inference [...] Read more.
The study of fish habitats is important for us to better understand the impact of reservoir construction on river ecosystems. Many habitat models have been developed in the past few decades. In this study, a fuzzy logic-based habitat model, which couples fuzzy inference system, two-dimensional laterally averaged hydrodynamic model, and two-dimensional shallow water hydrodynamic model, is proposed to identify the baseline condition of suitable habitat for fish spawning activities. The proposed model considers the reservoir and the downstream river channel, and explores the comprehensive effects of water temperature, velocity, and water depth on habitat suitability. A real-world case that considers the Ctenopharyngodon idella in the Xuanwei Reservoir of Qingshui River is studied to investigate the effect of in- and outflow of reservoir on fish habitat and the best integrative management measure of the model. There were 64 simulations with different reservoir in- and outflows employed to calculate the weighted usable area and hydraulic habitat suitability. The experimental results show that the ecological flow for Ctenopharyngodon idella spawning can satisfy the basic demand when the reservoir inflow is greater than 60 m3/s and the reservoir outflow is greater than 100 m3/s. The habitat ecological suitability is the best when the reservoir outflow is 120 m3/s. A more reasonable and reliable ecological flow range can be obtained based on the habitat model in this paper, which provides the best scenario for water resources planning and management in the Qingshui River Basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Flows, Ecological Quality and Ecosystem Services)
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Flow Regime on Ecological Quality, Bird Diversity, and Shellfish Fisheries in a Lowland Mediterranean River and Its Coastal Area
Water 2019, 11(5), 918; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11050918 - 01 May 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Designing environmental flows in lowland river sections and estuaries is a challenge for researchers and managers, given their complexity and their importance, both for nature conservation and economy. The Ebro River and its delta belong to a Mediterranean area with marked anthropogenic pressures. [...] Read more.
Designing environmental flows in lowland river sections and estuaries is a challenge for researchers and managers, given their complexity and their importance, both for nature conservation and economy. The Ebro River and its delta belong to a Mediterranean area with marked anthropogenic pressures. This study presents an assessment of the relationships between mean flows (discharges) computed at different time scales and (i) ecological quality based on fish populations in the lower Ebro, (ii) bird populations, and (iii) two shellfish fishery species of socioeconomic importance (prawn, or Penaeus kerathurus, and mantis shrimp, or Squilla mantis). Daily discharge data from 2000 to 2015 were used for analyses. Mean annual discharge was able to explain the variation in fish-based ecological quality, and model performance increased when aquatic vegetation was incorporated. Our results indicate that a good ecological status cannot be reached only through changes on discharge, and that habitat characteristics, such as the coverage of macrophytes, must be taken into account. In addition, among the different bird groups identified in our study area, predators were related to river discharge. This was likely due to its influence on available resources. Finally, prawn and mantis shrimp productivity were influenced up to a certain degree by discharge and physicochemical variables, as inputs from rivers constitute major sources of nutrients in oligotrophic environments such as the Mediterranean Sea. Such outcomes allowed revisiting the environmental flow regimes designed for the study area, which provides information for water management in this or in other similar Mediterranean zones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Flows, Ecological Quality and Ecosystem Services)
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Open AccessArticle
Flow Regime and Nutrient-Loading Trends from the Largest South European Watersheds: Implications for the Productivity of Mediterranean and Black Sea’s Coastal Areas
Water 2019, 11(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11010001 - 20 Dec 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
In the last century, large watersheds in Southern Europe have been impacted by a combination of anthropogenic and climatic pressures, which have rapidly evolved to change the ecological status of freshwater and coastal systems. A comparative analysis was performed for Ebro, Rhône, Po [...] Read more.
In the last century, large watersheds in Southern Europe have been impacted by a combination of anthropogenic and climatic pressures, which have rapidly evolved to change the ecological status of freshwater and coastal systems. A comparative analysis was performed for Ebro, Rhône, Po and Danube rivers, to investigate if they exhibited differential dynamics in hydrology and water quality that can be linked to specific human and natural forces acting at sub-continental scales. Flow regime series were analyzed from daily to multi-decadal scales, considering frequency distributions, trends (Mann–Kendall and Sen tests) and discontinuities (SRSD Method). River loads of suspended matter, nutrients and organic matter and the eutrophication potential of river nutrients were estimated to assess the impact of river loads on adjacent coastal areas. The decline of freshwater resources largely impacted the Ebro watershed on annual (−0.139 km3 yr−1) and seasonal (−0.4% yr−1) scales. In the other rivers, only spring–summer showed significant decreases of the runoff coupled to an exacerbated flow variability (0.1–0.3% yr−1), which suggested the presence of an enhanced regional climatic instability. Discontinuities in annual runoff series (every 20–30 years) indicated a similar long-term evolution of Rhône and Po rivers, differently from Ebro and Danube. Higher nutrient concentrations in the Ebro and Po (+50%) compared to Rhône and Danube and distinct stoichiometric nutrient ratios may exert specific impacts on the growth of plankton biomass in coastal areas. The overall decline of inorganic phosphorus in the Rhône and Po (since the 1980s) and the Ebro and Danube (since the 1990s) mitigated the eutrophication in coastal ecosystems inducing, however, a phase in which the role of organic phosphorus loads (Po > Danube > Rhône > Ebro) on coastal productivity could be more relevant. Overall, the study showed that the largest South European watersheds are differently impacted by anthropogenic and climatic forces and that this will influence their vulnerability to future changes of flow regime and water quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Flows, Ecological Quality and Ecosystem Services)
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