Environmental Management

, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 69–84 | Cite as

Assessing Restoration Effects on River Hydromorphology Using the Process-based Morphological Quality Index in Eight European River Reaches

  • B. BellettiEmail author
  • L. Nardi
  • M. Rinaldi
  • M. Poppe
  • K. Brabec
  • M. Bussettini
  • F. Comiti
  • M. Gielczewski
  • B. Golfieri
  • S. Hellsten
  • J. Kail
  • E. Marchese
  • P. Marcinkowski
  • T. Okruszko
  • A. Paillex
  • M. Schirmer
  • M. Stelmaszczyk
  • N. Surian


The Morphological Quality Index (MQI) and the Morphological Quality Index for monitoring (MQIm) have been applied to eight case studies across Europe with the objective of analyzing the hydromorphological response to various restoration measures and of comparing the results of the MQI and MQIm as a morphological assessment applied at the reach scale, with a conventional site scale physical-habitat assessment method. For each restored reach, the two indices were applied to the pre-restoration and post-restoration conditions. The restored reach was also compared to an adjacent, degraded reach. Results show that in all cases the restoration measures improved the morphological quality of the reach, but that the degree of improvement depends on many factors, including the initial morphological conditions, the length of the restored portion in relation to the reach length, and on the type of intervention. The comparison with a conventional site scale physical-habitat assessment method shows that the MQI and MQIm are best suited for the evaluation of restoration effects on river hydromorphology at the geomorphologically-relevant scale of the river reach.


Fluvial geomorphology River restoration Hydromorphological assessment Hydromorphological monitoring Human impact 



The work incorporated in this paper was funded through the European Union’s FP7 programme under Grant Agreement No. 282656 (REFORM). The present study was developed within the context of Deliverable D6.2 of the REFORM programme. The authors sincerely thank the Associate Editor, Angus Webb, and two anonymous reviewers for their precious comments and feedback.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Belletti
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • L. Nardi
    • 1
  • M. Rinaldi
    • 1
  • M. Poppe
    • 3
  • K. Brabec
    • 4
  • M. Bussettini
    • 5
  • F. Comiti
    • 6
  • M. Gielczewski
    • 7
  • B. Golfieri
    • 8
  • S. Hellsten
    • 9
  • J. Kail
    • 10
  • E. Marchese
    • 6
  • P. Marcinkowski
    • 7
  • T. Okruszko
    • 7
  • A. Paillex
    • 11
  • M. Schirmer
    • 12
  • M. Stelmaszczyk
    • 7
  • N. Surian
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Department of Electronics, Information and BioengineeringPolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly
  3. 3.University of Natural Resources and Life Science (BOKU), Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem ManagementViennaAustria
  4. 4.Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment, Masaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  5. 5.National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA)ISPRAItaly
  6. 6.Faculty of Science and TechnologyFree University of Bozen-BolzanoBolzanoItaly
  7. 7.Department of Hydraulic EngineeringWarsaw University of Life SciencesWarszawaPoland
  8. 8.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  9. 9.Finnish Environment InstituteHelsinkiFinland
  10. 10.University of Duisburg-EssenDuisburgGermany
  11. 11.Aquatic Ecology DepartmentEAWAGDübendorfSwitzerland
  12. 12.Department of Water Resources and Drinking WaterEAWAGSwitzerland

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