Guide to survey and description of river habitats

INHABIT project

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Home Themes & Results Innovative measures (I3) Survey and description of river habitats - CARAVAGGIO Manual

Guide to survey and description of river habitats

Within the INHABIT project, survey and description of habitat features have played a fundamental role in the characterization of investigated river reaches and in the identification of environmental elements influencing the variability of biotic conditions. In order to create appropriate operational tools, part of the INHABIT activity has been focused on the drafting of a guide describing in details the characteristics of the CARAVAGGIO method, selected to be used for the purposes of the project (see also deliverable Pd3).
The Manual of the CARAVAGGIO method - Survey and description of river habitats has been finalised within INHABIT project, as part of I3 group of actions. The manual is an important practical tool that supports the correct application of the method, allowing for in-depth characterization of river habitats that has played a crucial role in the development of the project.
The manual describes in detail the procedure for the application in the field of CARAVAGGIO method - Core Assessment of River habitat value and hydromorpholoGIcal condition. The method was designed to gather information considered as particularly useful for the description of river habitats, from multiple points of view and with attention to different aspects, mainly related to hydromorphological conditions observed in a given river reach.
The method allows the recording, storage and processing of a large number of habitat features related to river channel, banks and peri-fluvial areas, to support both direct evaluations of quality, for the definition and analysis of habitats of individual species, populations or biological communities. Data are collected at different spatial scales: microhabitat (i.e. up to about 1 m), mesohabitats (from 1 to a few tens of m) and macrohabitat (≈ over 50 m extension). Collected information has the primary purpose of supporting the description and evaluation of habitat in the considered river reach.
For regulatory purposes, CARAVAGGIO method fits in the current environmental legislative framework as a suitable tool for the implementation of some aspects of the WFD and the HABITAT Directive - two of the most important environmental European directives. The method is primarily oriented, for WFD purpose, to provide support to the interpretation of biological data, the assessment of the hydromorphological quality of water bodies and the selection of "reference sites", according to the Italian DM 260/2010. With particular reference to the purposes of the WFD and the HABITAT Directive, the CARAVAGGIO method allows the collection of environmental data that can be used for multiple purposes, as demonstrated by the activity carried out within INHABIT project.
A short description of the method, with additional details, is also available at this section of the website.

The Italian version of the Manual of the CARAVAGGIO method – Survey and description of river habitats is here available for download (paper version ISBN 9788897655008; e-book ISBN 9788897655022).
(An English version of the Manual is in progress).

Field form and application keys are also available (Italian version is available here: schede di campo, chiave applicativa)