Sampling sufficiency for determining hydraulic habitat diversity

The geometry and hydrodynamics of river reaches are key ecohydraulic descriptors. Statistics of water depth and velocity measurements are usually taken as proxies for habitat suitability in rivers. However, little is known about the sufficiency of data to produce effective and rep-resentative results. In this research, 19 reaches with differences in terms of discharge, river width, substrate, reach length, cross-section spacing and geomorphology are investigated. Measurements of flow depth and velocity were taken at multiple, equally spaced cross-sec-tions along each reach. Data were sub-sampled using different methodologies and analysed each time. The sets of sub-sampled data were then compared with those calculated with the full data set from a reach. The focus was put towards the hydro-morphological index of diversity (HMID), a combination of the classical ecohydraulic variables flow depth and vel-ocity. It represents the spatial variability of hydraulic habitats in a reach. The results point out that, with a well-defined sampling strategy, 100 measurement points lead to a good estimation of the HMID value in a reach, if more than eight measurement points are taken per cross-section. For geomorphologies with small complexity or when the analysis only includes the estimation of mean flow depth or mean flow velocity, this number can be decreased according to the results presented here. These findings help both, aquatic ecolo-gists and engineers to estimate their data reliability for hydraulic field measurements in a river reach and are herein discussed taking into account the different studied morphologies.

Published in:
Journal of Ecohydraulics
Apr 01 2019

Note: The status of this file is: EPFL only

 Record created 2019-04-02, last modified 2020-02-12

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