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A numerical model for river habitat restoration: a case study of the Chin-sha River in China

Paper Topic: 
Ecosystems and Natural Resources Management

Pages :

Corresponing Author: 
Yao Weiwei
Weiwei Yao, Yuansheng Chen, Xiaoyi Ma
Paper ID: 
Paper Status: 
Date Paper Accepted: 
Paper online: 

Currently, the ecosystem is being damaged in many rivers and subsequently the fish species living there are also facing decline or even extinction. This situation urges to model the habitat and to design suitable restoration strategies in order to increase the capabilities of ecological modeling. In this paper, we proposed a numerical model to assess the ecosystem habitat situation and investigated the impacts of two ecological restorations strategies for the target fish species. The model includes a hydrodynamic model, a habitat model and habitat restoration schemes. The hydrodynamic model simulated the flow properties while sediments in the riverbed were also surveyed. Based on these parameters and fish preference curves, the habitat suitability indices were calculated. In order to analyze the river habitat quality, the weighted usable areas and overall suitability index were also calculated and the effects of the restoration strategies on selected fish species (Freshwater Reeves shad - Tenualosa reevesii) in the Chin-sha River were evaluated. The two ecological restoration strategies: addition of side-channel (scheme I) and river bank reconstruction (scheme II) enhanced the Freshwater Reeves shad habitat suitability level, with the high suitability index proportion increasing from 19.5% to 33.1% for scheme I and to 36.1% for scheme II. Based on the modelling results, we concluded that our numerical model could potentially provide suitable scenarios for successful fish habitat restoration.

River restoration strategy, ecohydraulic simulation, Chin-sha River, habitat suitability, side-channel, riverbank reconstruction