Integrated Floodplain Response Model (INFORM) as a tool to predict effects of human impacts on habitat availability for floodplain species
Fuchs, Elmar; Schleuter, Michael; Rosenzweig, Stephan
Engineered rivers used as waterways may affect local environmental habitat conditions due to altering the hydro-ecological interrelations. In this context, an intact riverine ecosystem, providing humans with additional benefits from ecosystem services beyond waterborne transport, has become of significant societal importance, recognized in the recently established European and national legislation. The German Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV) has mandated the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) to develop a methodology to predict and evaluate ecological impacts of river engineering projects. A modelling framework was set up and named Integrated floodplain Response Model (INFORM), combining conventional hydro-numeric models with ecological modelling techniques. A case study at the German River Elbe demonstrates the application of habitat models for floodplain species. The results are used to evaluate planned river management measures. Optional measures for mitigating river bed erosion are analysed by INFORM in terms of their impact on habitat availability for floodplain species. The results gives the decision makers the opportunity to integrate effects on riverine and floodplain species into their planning process.