Guide for the river morphological restoration in Colombia: exemplary hydromorphological and habitat modeling = Guía para la restauración morfológica de ríos en Colombia: caso de estudio modelación hidromorfológica y del hábitat
The need of understanding the relationship between the physical habitat and ecology in the fluvial systems has become a major issue due to an increasing environmental conciousness but also because of the normativity which demand the achievement of the good status of the water bodies and its ecosystems. Exactly this requirement is prescribed by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) which have included the hydromorphology as an important aspect of evaluation due to the influence that it has on the ecology of a river system. The hydromorphology gets relevance because it study the system as a whole, involving the interactions between ecology, hydrology and fluvial geomorphology. As a response to the WFD each country of the European Union has developed a method for guaranteeing the compliance of the normativity. Elements of such methods and of international literature are collected for the development of a methodology that fulfill the gaps of the current Colombian water normativity and support the decision making in the environmental planning and impact assessment. This guide for the river morphological restoration in Colombia is a complete hydromorphological analysis of a selected river which main purpose is to make an approach to the general aspects of the river in the macro scale, followed by an assessment in the meso scale in which the river is segmented, classified and the hydromorphological conditions are scored; finally, a simulation is performed for a critical reach, called in this work the “bottle neck” reach. The simulation consists in a hydrodynamics model (or hydromorphodynamics model as optional), its results of depth, velocity and substrate in combination with the preferences of a fish indicator species, are computed in the software CASiMiR and give the habitat suitability in the study area for the simulated conditions. The application of such methodology is applied in a mountainous river reach downstream the Punt da Gall dam in Switzerland for which the hydromorphological aspects in the macro and meso scale are assessed and in the micro scale the habitat distribution of fish indicator species are calculated. The present work is an attempt to apply the habitat simulation as a tool for determining hydromorphological quality, for river restoration activities and for determining minimum habitat conditions when the discharge is regulated. Future investigations include the application in a Colombian river for which the collection of biological data still is a challenge.
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