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8. Dealing with physical damage to rivers: the Morphological Quality Index and restoration - Emma Quinlan, EPA

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On 17 and 18 June 2020 the EPA held its National Water Event as an online conference.

This year's theme was 'Restoring our waters'.

This years event was free to attend. It was the EPA's largest water event ever, with over 1250 attending.

To everyone who joined us: thanks for attending; thanks for your probing questions; thanks for your passion; thanks for caring about our waters. We can achieve more working together.

Special thanks to all our presenters and the team who worked behind the scenes to make sure this years conference happened.

For science and stories about water quality in Ireland, check out www.catchments.ie

Published in: Science
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8. Dealing with physical damage to rivers: the Morphological Quality Index and restoration - Emma Quinlan, EPA

  1. 1. ASSESSING THE DAMAGE TO THE PHYSICAL CONDITION OF RIVERS EPA National Water Event 18th June 2020 Emma Quinlan EPA Catchments Unit
  2. 2. ‘Hydromorphology’ ◼ ‘study of the processes that operate in water body….. (e.g. water and sediment production/movement) …..and the features that these processes produce’ ◼ Foundation for which aquatic ecosystems can be supported ◼ Physical conditions of a water body ◼ Vital component of catchment management Photo: E. Quinlan Create and maintain habitat!!
  3. 3. Hydromorphology - what’s considered Flow Connectivity
  4. 4. Channel depth and width Sediment Hydromorphology - what’s considered
  5. 5. Riparian vegetation Photo: E. Quinlan Hydromorphology - what’s considered
  6. 6. WFD Cycle 2 Risk assessment outcomes: Significant pressures (Physical modification) Photo: Emma Quinlan Photo: Emma Quinlan Photo: Emma Quinlan Photo: E. Quinlan Photo: Emma Quinlan Photo: E. Quinlan Photo: E. Quinlan Photo: E. Quinlan
  7. 7. WFD Cycle 3: Characterisation and hydromorphology Photo: Emma Quinlan Photo: Emma Quinlan Photo: Emma Quinlan Photo: Emma Quinlan … How does the river physically function? …… How does it respond to pressures? ……………….………… Is there a significant issue? Address at multiple scales. With multiple tools!
  8. 8. Steps 2018 2019 2020 2021 1. Improve knowledge of hydromorphology-ecology relationships 2. Develop assessment tools (Rivers, Lakes, TRAC) 3. Assess hydromorphological condition 4. Review heavily modified designations 5. Develop key indicators and agree a monitoring programme 6. Identify appropriate restoration measures 7. Develop and agree a prioritised restoration programme 8. Develop environmental quality standards 9. Adapt tools for assessing impacts of proposed developments National Hydromorphology Work Programme (2018-2021) Supported by the National Hydromorphology Working Group
  9. 9. River assessment tool: MQI-Ireland ◼ National hydromorphological condition assessment of rivers ◼ Step 2 of National Hydromorphology Work Programme ◼ 60,000km of river channel
  10. 10. National hydromorphological condition overview, 60,000km of river channel Step 1: Segmentation/Reach identification Step 2: Data capture Step 3: Calculating Indicators Step 4: Condition Assessment Score Considering landscape unit, confinement, channel pattern Collect/Digitise/Process pressure data Considering longitudinal connectivity, lateral connectivity, channel morphology, riparian condition Calculate MQI score and assign hydromorphological class Overview of MQI-Ireland High impact Medium impact Low impact 2017-present
  11. 11. MQI Ireland: Indicators 1) Dam and Reservoirs 2) Peat 3) Urban 4) Standard Indicator PC/UC C PC/UC PC/UC C PC / UC Confine d Longitudinal connectivity A1M Upstream alteration of flows 10.0% 12.5% 0.0% 0% 0% 0% 0% A2 Upstream alteration of sediment discharges 10.0% 12.5% 0.0% 0% 0% 0% 0% F1 Longitudinal continuity in sediment and wood flux 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% A4 Alteration of sediment discharge in the reach 5% 5% 5% 10% 10% 5% 5% Lateral connectivity F3 River corridor connectivity 10% 10% 10% 15% 25% 10% 15% F5 Absence of a potentially erodible corridor 5% 0% 10% 15% 0% 10% 0% A6 Bank protection 5% 5% 10% 15% 30% 10% 15% A7 Presence of embankments 5% 0% 15% 10% 0% 5% 0% Channelmorphology F7 Planform pattern and Variability of the cross section 7.5% 7.5% 0% 5.00% 5.00% 10% 15% A8 Artificial changes of the river course 7.5% 10% 0% 5.00% 5.00% 15% 15% A13 Historic modification (within cut/reclaimed peat) 5.0% 7.5% 40% 0% 0% 10% 10% CA1 Adjustments in channel pattern 2.5% 2.5% 2.5% 2.5% 2.50% 2.5% 2.5% CA2 Adjustments in channel width 7.5% 7.5% 2.5% 2.5% 2.50% 2.5% 2.5% Riparian condition F12 Width of functional vegetation 7.5% 7.5% 0.0% 7.50% 7.50% 7.5% 7.5% F13 Linear extension of functional vegetation 7.5% 7.5% 0.0% 7.50% 7.50% 7.5% 7.5%
  12. 12. 1) Dam and Reservoirs 2) Peat 3) Urban 4) Standard Indicator PC/UC C PC/UC PC/UC C PC / UC Confine d Longitudinal connectivity A1M Upstream alteration of flows 10.0% 12.5% 0.0% 0% 0% 0% 0% A2 Upstream alteration of sediment discharges 10.0% 12.5% 0.0% 0% 0% 0% 0% F1 Longitudinal continuity in sediment and wood flux 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% A4 Alteration of sediment discharge in the reach 5% 5% 5% 10% 10% 5% 5% Lateral connectivity F3 River corridor connectivity 10% 10% 10% 15% 25% 10% 15% F5 Absence of a potentially erodible corridor 5% 0% 10% 15% 0% 10% 0% A6 Bank protection 5% 5% 10% 15% 30% 10% 15% A7 Presence of embankments 5% 0% 15% 10% 0% 5% 0% Channelmorphology F7 Planform pattern and Variability of the cross section 7.5% 7.5% 0% 5.00% 5.00% 10% 15% A8 Artificial changes of the river course 7.5% 10% 0% 5.00% 5.00% 15% 15% A13 Historic modification (within cut/reclaimed peat) 5.0% 7.5% 40% 0% 0% 10% 10% CA1 Adjustments in channel pattern 2.5% 2.5% 2.5% 2.5% 2.50% 2.5% 2.5% CA2 Adjustments in channel width 7.5% 7.5% 2.5% 2.5% 2.50% 2.5% 2.5% Riparian condition F12 Width of functional vegetation 7.5% 7.5% 0.0% 7.50% 7.50% 7.5% 7.5% F13 Linear extension of functional vegetation 7.5% 7.5% 0.0% 7.50% 7.50% 7.5% 7.5% MQI Ireland: Indicators
  13. 13. MQI Ireland: Indicators Indicator Longitudinal connectivity A1M Upstream alteration of flows A2 Upstream alteration of sediment discharges F1 Longitudinal continuity in sediment and wood flux A4 Alteration of sediment discharge in the reach Lateral connectivity F3 River corridor connectivity F5 Absence of a potentially erodible corridor A6 Bank protection A7 Presence of embankments Channelmorphology F7 Planform pattern and Variability of the cross section A8 Artificial changes of the river course A13 Historic modification (within cut/reclaimed peat) CA1 Adjustments in channel pattern CA2 Adjustments in channel width Riparian condition F12 Width of functional vegetation F13 Linear extension of functional vegetation
  14. 14. MQI-Ireland: Indicators ◼ Automated approach to generate indicators. ◼ Categorised by level of impact (%): ◼ High ◼ Medium ◼ Low ◼ Representing the degree of change from natural hydromorphological condition ◼ Indicator scores based on continuous variables ◼ Aid scenario analysis!
  15. 15. 2km river reach (Suir catchment) MQI Ireland: Condition assessment Photo: E. Quinlan Currently reviewing and refining tool output MQI Indicator group Pressure(s) ➢ Potential measure(s) MQI results *V1.09.01 Longitudinal connectivity Bridge Low impact Lateral connectivity Development in the floodplain Low impact Channel morphology Drainage Scheme ➢ Cease dredging. ➢ Ensure best practice in channel drainage maintenance. High impact Riparian condition Removal of riparian vegetation ➢ Re-establish/Prevent removal of riparian vegetation on the bank. Medium Impact Hydromorphological condition class Moderate
  16. 16. Progressing the National Hydromorphology Work Programme National Work Programme How will tools support the national work programme? 1. Improve knowledge of hydromorphology-ecology relationships Multiple tools to explore linkages. 2. Develop assessment tools Support WFD characterisation providing a strong diagnostic capability and baseline assessment3. Assess hydromorphological condition 4. Review heavily modified designations Inform the revision of Heavily Modified Water Body designation 5. Develop key hydromorphological indicators and agree a monitoring programme Support identification of hydromorphological indicators and monitoring programmes 6. Identify appropriate restoration measures Support targeting and identification of appropriate hydromorphological measures - right measure(s) in the right place7. Develop and agree a prioritised restoration programme 8. Develop environmental quality standards Support development of environmental quality standards and a regulatory framework 9. Adapt tools for assessing impacts of proposed developments As the basis for a decision support system
  17. 17. Thank you

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