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Special Issue "Environmental Flows Determination and Monitoring with Hydraulic Habitat Models"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Piotr Parasiewicz

River Fisheries Department, Stanislaw Sakowicz Inland Fisheries Institute, Zabieniec, Piaseczno, Poland
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 535949829
Interests: river ecology and management; river restoration; fish habitat modelling; remote sensing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Hydraulic habitat simulation models were designed for the purpose of quantitative determination of environmental flows that consider the needs of aquatic fauna in rivers and streams. In the past 50 years, the modelling techniques were significantly developed, but expectations associated with model utility also increased. Nowadays, the tools are expected to be applicable across a range of spatial and temporal scales and protect entire aquatic communities, while being inexpensive as well as easy to use in administrative and legal environments. Addressing these challenges is the focus of this volume. We invite papers that present most recent developments in habitat modelling, supported by real life case studies. Particularly, we are looking for papers describing: 1) applications for hydropower development, water withdrawals, other industrial and municipal uses; 2) applications at regional as well as at site-specific scales; 3) cross-scale applications; 4) taking spatial, temporal, and biological variability into account; 5) addressing boundary conditions (e.g., water chemistry, food availability, climate change predictions, multimodels); 6) incorporating geomorphological variability and dynamics; 7) remote sensing; and 8) monitoring schemes

Prof. Piotr Parasiewicz
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • instream flows
  • e-flows
  • community habitat
  • river dynamics
  • scales
  • rivers and streams
  • physical habitat models

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Empirical Validation of MesoHABSIM Models Developed with Different Habitat Suitability Criteria for Bullhead Cottus Gobio L. as an Indicator Species
Water 2019, 11(4), 726; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040726
Received: 30 January 2019 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 6 April 2019 / Published: 8 April 2019
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Abstract
Application of instream habitat models such as the Mesohabitat Simulation Model (MesoHABSIM) is becoming increasingly popular. Such models can predict alteration to a river physical habitat caused by hydropower operation or river training. They are a tool for water management planning, especially in [...] Read more.
Application of instream habitat models such as the Mesohabitat Simulation Model (MesoHABSIM) is becoming increasingly popular. Such models can predict alteration to a river physical habitat caused by hydropower operation or river training. They are a tool for water management planning, especially in terms of requirements of the Water Framework Directive. Therefore, model verification studies, which investigate the accuracy and reliability of the results generated, are essential. An electrofishing survey was conducted in September 2014 on the Stura di Demonte River located in north-western Italy. One hundred and sixteen bullhead—Cottus gobio L.—were captured in 80 pre-exposed area electrofishing (PAE) grids. Observations of bullhead distribution in various habitats were used to validate MesoHABSIM model predictions created with inductive and deductive habitat suitability indices. The inductive statistical models used electrofishing data obtained from multiple mountainous streams, analyzed with logistic regression. The deductive approach was based on conditional habitat suitability criteria (CHSC) derived from expert knowledge and information gathered from the literature about species behaviour and habitat use. The results of model comparison and validation show that although the inductive models are more precise and reflect site- and species-specific characteristics, the CHSC model provides quite similar results. We propose to use inductive models for detailed planning of measures that could potentially impair riverine ecosystems at a local scale, since the CHSC model provides general information about habitat suitability and use of such models is advised in pre-development or generic scale studies. However, the CHSC model can be further calibrated with localized electrofishing data at a lower cost than development of an inductive model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Integrating Meso-Scale Habitat Modelling in the Multicriteria Analysis (MCA) Process for the Assessment of Hydropower Sustainability
Water 2019, 11(4), 640; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040640
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 8 March 2019 / Accepted: 24 March 2019 / Published: 27 March 2019
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Abstract
The increasing number of water abstractions and water-use conflicts in alpine regions represents a significant threat for these fragile aquatic ecosystems. The use of tools, like multicriteria analysis (MCA), can support related decision-making processes towards sustainable solutions. In this paper, an innovative approach [...] Read more.
The increasing number of water abstractions and water-use conflicts in alpine regions represents a significant threat for these fragile aquatic ecosystems. The use of tools, like multicriteria analysis (MCA), can support related decision-making processes towards sustainable solutions. In this paper, an innovative approach to assess water withdrawals sustainability by integrating the MesoHABSIM (Mesohabitat Simulation Model) into an MCA framework is presented and discussed. The methodology was implemented by replacing, within the MCA assessment, Water Framework Directive biological indicators with the MesoHABSIM based river Habitat Integrity Index, related to watercourse discharge and morphology, which allows quantifying the impacts of withdrawals on river ecosystems and fish communities. The resulting MCA procedure considers four criteria (energy, environment and fishing, landscape, economy) and requires only the use of measurable indicators based on watercourse discharge and its continuous monitoring. It was tested in Aosta Valley region (NW Italy) to both ex ante and ex post scenarios, for different types of water withdrawals and, currently, 20 experimentations, involving 58 hydropower plants and 12 farmer consortia, are ongoing. The proposed MCA process demonstrated its applicability with an increased decision-making quality and involved stakeholders’ satisfaction and is being officially endorsed in the regional River Strategic Plan. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Performance of A Two-Dimensional Hydraulic Model for the Evaluation of Stranding Areas and Characterization of Rapid Fluctuations in Hydropeaking Rivers
Water 2019, 11(2), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020201
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 15 January 2019 / Accepted: 22 January 2019 / Published: 24 January 2019
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (14906 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Extreme, short-duration fluctuations caused by hydropeaking occurs when hydropower is regulated to cover demand peaks in the electricity market. Such rapid dewatering processes may have a high impact on the downstream biological conditions, particularly related to stranding of fish and other species. The [...] Read more.
Extreme, short-duration fluctuations caused by hydropeaking occurs when hydropower is regulated to cover demand peaks in the electricity market. Such rapid dewatering processes may have a high impact on the downstream biological conditions, particularly related to stranding of fish and other species. The present work analyzes these fluctuations using a two-dimensional unsteady hydraulic modelling approach for quantification of two important hydro-morphological factors on fish stranding risk: the variation in wetted area and the dewatering ramping rate. This approach was applied on the two-kilometer-long reach of Storåne downstream of the Hol 1 power plant, where topo bathymetric LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data was available providing a high-resolution digital elevation model. Based on this model, hydraulic conditions could be simulated in high detail allowing for an accurate assessment of the hydro morphological factors. Results show the dried area distribution at different flows and dewatering ramping rates. The attenuation of the water level fluctuation due to the damping effect along the river reach controls the dewatering rate. We recommend an alternative scenario operation which can reduce the impact of the peaking operation and estimate the operational mitigation cost. We find that the modelling based on the fine resolution grid provides new opportunities in assessing effects of hydropower regulations on the ecosystem. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatiotemporal Variation in Benthic-Invertebrates-Based Physical Habitat Modelling: Can We Use Generic Instead of Local and Season-Specific Habitat Suitability Criteria?
Water 2018, 10(11), 1508; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10111508
Received: 7 September 2018 / Revised: 8 October 2018 / Accepted: 22 October 2018 / Published: 24 October 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (12498 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Generic habitat suitability criteria (HC) are often developed from spatially and temporally variable hydroecological datasets to increase generality, cost-effectiveness, and time-efficiency of habitat models. For benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs), however, there is no prior knowledge on the spatiotemporal variation in their habitat preferences and [...] Read more.
Generic habitat suitability criteria (HC) are often developed from spatially and temporally variable hydroecological datasets to increase generality, cost-effectiveness, and time-efficiency of habitat models. For benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs), however, there is no prior knowledge on the spatiotemporal variation in their habitat preferences and how this may be reflected in the final environmental flow (e-flow) predictions. In this study, we used a large, spatiotemporally variable BMI-hydroecological dataset and developed generic, local, and season-specific subsets of HC for three seasons and two river types within various data pre-treatment options. Each subset was used to train a fuzzy habitat model, predict the habitat suitability in two hydrodynamically-simulated river reaches, and develop/compare model-based e-flow scenarios. We found that BMIs shift their habitat preferences among seasons and river types; consequently, spatiotemporally variable e-flow predictions were developed, with the seasonal variation being greater than the typological one. Within this variation, however, we found that with proper data pre-treatment, the minimum-acceptable e-flows from the generic models mostly (65–90%) lay within the acceptable e-flows predicted by the local and season-specific models. We conclude that, within specific limitations, generic BMI-HC can be used for geographically extended, cost-effective e-flow assessments, compensating for the within-limits loss of predictive accuracy. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
“E = mc2” of Environmental Flows: A Conceptual Framework for Establishing a Fish-Biological Foundation for a Regionally Applicable Environmental Low-Flow Formula
Water 2018, 10(11), 1501; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10111501
Received: 26 August 2018 / Revised: 14 October 2018 / Accepted: 16 October 2018 / Published: 23 October 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4829 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Determination of environmental flows at the regional scale has been complicated by the fine-scale variability of the needs of aquatic organisms. Therefore, most regional methods are based on observation of hydrological patterns and lack evidence of connection to biological responses. In contrast, biologically [...] Read more.
Determination of environmental flows at the regional scale has been complicated by the fine-scale variability of the needs of aquatic organisms. Therefore, most regional methods are based on observation of hydrological patterns and lack evidence of connection to biological responses. In contrast, biologically sound methods are too detailed and resource-consuming for applications on larger scales. The purpose of this pilot project was to develop an approach that would breach this gap and provide biologically sound rules for environmental flow (eflow) estimation for the region of Poland. The concept was developed using seven river sites, which represent the four of six fish-ecological freshwater body types common in Poland. Each of these types was distinguished based on a specific fish community structure, composed of habitat-use guilds. The environmental significance of the flows for these communities was established with help of the habitat simulation model MesoHABSIM computed for each of the seven sites. The established seasonal environmental flow thresholds were standardized to the watershed area and assigned to the corresponding water body type. With these obtained environmental flow coefficients, a standard-setting formula was created, which is compatible with existing standard-setting approaches while maintaining biological significance. The proposed approach is a first attempt to use habitat suitability models to justify a desktop formula for the regional scale eflow criteria. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Baseflow Contribution to Streamflow and Aquatic Habitats Using Physical Habitat Simulations
Water 2018, 10(10), 1304; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10101304
Received: 3 August 2018 / Revised: 13 September 2018 / Accepted: 17 September 2018 / Published: 21 September 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5136 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A scientific understanding of the baseflow contribution to streams and watershed processes is critical when dealing with water policy and management issues. However, most previous studies involving physical habitat simulation have been performed without considering the seepage of water from the underground into [...] Read more.
A scientific understanding of the baseflow contribution to streams and watershed processes is critical when dealing with water policy and management issues. However, most previous studies involving physical habitat simulation have been performed without considering the seepage of water from the underground into streams. Motivated by this, herein, we report an investigation of the impact of baseflow using physical habitat simulations for both dominant fish and benthic macroinvertebrate. The study area was located along the reach of the Ungcheon Stream, located 16.50 km downstream and 11.75 km upstream from the Boryeong Dam in the Republic of Korea. For the physical habitat simulation, Zacco platypus and Baetis fuscatus were selected as the target fish and benthic macroinvertebrate, respectively. The HydroGeoSphere (HGS) model (Aquanty Inc., Waterloo, ON, Canada) and the River2D model (Version 0.95a, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada) were used for hydrologic and hydraulic simulations, respectively. The Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) model was used for the habitat simulations. Three habitat variables, flow depth, velocity, and substrate, were used. To assess the impact of baseflow, this study performed a physical habitat simulation using each representative discharge, with and without considering baseflow. It was found that the baseflow effects significantly increase the habitat suitability in the study reach. To restore the aquatic habitat, a scenario for modifying dam operations through natural flow patterns is presented using the Building Block Approach (BBA). In the study, the adjusted minimum flow allocation concept was used. It was revealed that the modified dam operations significantly increased the Weighted Usable Area (WUA) by about 48% for both target species. The results indicate that modifying the dam operations through restoration to natural flow regimes but also through inclusion of the baseflow are advantageous to aquatic fish habitats. Full article
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Model-Based Evaluation of the Effects of River Discharge Modulations on Physical Fish Habitat Quality
Water 2018, 10(4), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10040374
Received: 11 February 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 24 March 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (8502 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The increase in minimum flows has rarely been considered to mitigate the ecological impact of hydroelectric power plants because it requires a site-specific design and expensive long-term monitoring procedure to identify the most beneficial scenario. This study presents a model-based method to estimate, [...] Read more.
The increase in minimum flows has rarely been considered to mitigate the ecological impact of hydroelectric power plants because it requires a site-specific design and expensive long-term monitoring procedure to identify the most beneficial scenario. This study presents a model-based method to estimate, within the model constraints, the most sustainable scenario of water resource sharing between nature and human needs. We studied physical habitat suitability of the Isar River in Munich (Germany) for three protected fish species: Thymallus thymallus L., Hucho hucho L., and Chondostroma nasus L. The analysis combined a high-resolution two-dimensional (2D) hydromorphological model with expert-based procedures using Computer Aided Simulation Model for Instream Flow Requirements (CASiMIR). We simulated a range of minimum discharges from 5 to 68.5 m³/s and four scenarios: (A) maximum use of the resource for humans; (B) slight increase in the minimum water flow; (C) medium increase in the minimum water flow; and, (D) without diversion for hydroelectric production. Under the current hydromorphological conditions, model outputs showed that different life stages of the fish species showed preferences for different scenarios, and that none of the four scenarios provided permanently suitable habitat conditions for the three species. We suggest that discharge management should be combined with hydromorphological restoration actions to re-establish parts of the modified channel slope and/or parts of the previously lost floodplain habitat in order to implement a solution that favors all species at the same time. The modeling procedure that is presented may be helpful to identify the discharge scenario that is most efficient for maintaining target fish species under realistic usage conditions. Full article
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