The Special Issue of "Freshwater Biology" dedicated to the scientific monitoring of the Rhône River restoration is now on-line
The Special Issue of "Freshwater Biology" (Impact Factor: 2.905 ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 11/103 (Marine & Freshwater Biology)) dedicated to the scientific monitoring of the Rhône River restoration is now on-line. It will be published as the June 2015 issue of the journal.
Three of the 11 articles incorporate members of the Forel Institute as authors / co-authors.
Following a governmental decision, water managers, local authorities and the ‘Compagnie Nationale du Rhône’ financed a scientific programme to develop, test and subsequently use predictive models to assess the restoration of eight regulated reaches of the French Rhône River. This approach was fostered by (i) the existence of local initiatives aimed at the ecological improvement of the Rhône; (ii) a history of interactions based on trust among stakeholders; and (iii) knowledge provided by a large interdisciplinary research group that studied the Rhône for two decades before the programme started in 1998.
The Special Issue synthesises the insights gained over recent decades of research during which four river reaches (total length 47 km) were restored since 1999. One article relates physical habitats in the floodplain to river hydrology and morphology; five articles test predictive models linking changes in habitat conditions to changes in taxa abundance, community metrics and biological traits of macroinvertebrates and fish; and four articles address the effects of restoration in larger contexts (long-term community trends, optimisation of sampling strategies, social processes and bioindication).
The Rhône restoration led to more lotic and diverse aquatic communities and renewed social links with the river. When reliable pre-restoration data are available, simple habitat models can be used to predict quantitative ecological changes as a function of restoration effort. The project illustrates the need to describe changes in hydraulic conditions in studies of physical river restoration and shows the effort required for a powerful assessment of restoration effects. (adapted from Lamouroux N. et al. (2015) The ecological restoration of large rivers needs science-based, predictive tools meeting public expectations: an overview of the Rhône project. Freshwater Biology (doi:10.1111/fwb.12553).13 Apr 2015