RCHARC: A New Method for Physical Habitat Analysis

by John Nestler, USAE Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, United States,
Toni Schneider, USAE Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, United States,
Doug Latka, USAE Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering Hydrology


The Riverine Community Habitat Assessment and Restoration Concept (RCHARC) is applied to the Gavin's Point tailwater of the mainstem Missouri River as part of studies by the U.S. Army Engineer Division, Missouri River (MRD), to revise and update Missouri River reservoir operations manuals. The RCHARC contrasts depth and velocity distributions from a 'reference' stream against an array of operational or channel alternatives in a target stream. The more nearly depth and velocity distributions for a target-stream alternative resemble the reference stream, the more highly that alternative is ranked. For this application, the reference system was the historical Missouri River as defined by HEC-II analysis using preproject cross sections and preproject mean monthly flows. Reference monthly depth and velocity distributions are contrasted to monthly distributions associated with specific reservoir release alternatives routed through the existing channel. The results of the analysis allowed MRD to rank operational alternatives by their ability to provide habitat similar to the preproject conditions most likely to support native warmwater fishes.

Subject Headings: Fluid velocity | Stream channels | Ecological restoration | Reservoirs | Rivers and streams | Velocity distribution | Tailwater | Cross sections | Missouri River

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