Near-bankfull conditions in the Saldur river (South Tyrol, Italy) due only to intense glacier melt flows. The channel is confined by debris flow fans (on the left) and hillslopes (on the background), but small pockets of floodplains are also present (on the right).
A proglacial confined reach of the Rutor river (Valle D'Aosta, Italy) exhibiting a pronounced braided pattern. Such aquatic environments are naturally extremely dynamic and characterized by low biodiversity
Secchia River is an example of hydromorphological alteration, related to a dramatic bed incision mainly caused by intense sediment mining during the last decades. The alluvial deposits were completely eroded during causing bedrock outcropping and a drastic change in substrate characteristics.
Magra River in its upper part is an example of unconfined, wandering, gravel-bed river crossing along an intermontane Apenninic plain. The river in this portion of the catchment is in good morphological conditions, with limited hydromorphological alterations, a relatively wide erodible corridor, and typical forms and processes expected for this morphological typology.
In this medium reach, Cecina River is a sinuous with alternate bars, gravel bed river. Although some hydromorphological alteration (weirs upstream, past sediment mining and consequent bed incision), this river is in a relatively good morphological state, being characterized by bank erosion and lateral mobility promoting a diversity of morphological units and habitats.
The restored site “Binnerfeld” in the river Ruhr in Arnsberg is part of the NATURA 2000 area and serves as an important place for local recreation. Rehabilitation took place from 2006 to 2011 on a length of 4.5 km. The main aims were to rehabilitate natural hydromorphological conditions and improve longitudinal connectivity to enlarge morphological and biological diversity. Moreover, it aimed to increase the aesthetic value and to raise people’s awareness for the importance of river ecosystems.
The restored site “Cölbe” which is part of the floodplains and tributaries of the rivers Lahn and Ohm. The restoration was realised in 2000 over a length of 200m. The main aim was morphological improvement. Bank fixations were removed to initiate bankside erosion and the river bed and banks were restructured to enhance habitat and biotic diversity. It serves as an important area for characteristic species, flood prevention and local recreation.
During the 20th century the course of the River Enns was straightened, river banks were stabilized and most of the side arms backfilled for flood protection. To increase habitat diversity of the river bed and the riparian zone small scale restoration measures were implemented: Over a distance of 270 m the riprap was removed and a new side arm was created. New gravel banks as well as pools and water filled backwaters developed due to river bed being widened.
Challenges, Objectives and Scope of REFORM - REstoring rivers FOR effective catchment Management
Restoring river ecosystems in Europe: the REFORM project will provide tools to support cost-effective implementation of restoration measures and monitoring. REFORM is a 4-yr large integrated research project, grouping 25 partners from 14 countries, that addresses the challenges to reach the ecological objectives for rivers as required by the EU Water Framework Directive.
Many European rivers are regulated to support flood protection, navigation, freshwater supply or hydropower production. The ecological impacts of these hydromorphological modifications are poorly understood and the extent to which these impacts can be effectively reversed or mitigated lacks scientific rigour.
REFORM will improve existing tools and develop new ones to increase the success and cost-effectiveness of restoration measures and procedures to monitor the biological responses to hydromorphological changes with greater precision and sensitivity. One example of a new tool that will be delivered by REFORM is a river restoration WIKI. The first results will be timely available early 2013 to support the second and future River Basin Management Plans of the WFD as well as other European environmental directives.