WP 7: Investigating core stream type 1 (small-sized, shallow, mountain streams) and 2 (medium-sized, deeper, lowland streams)
To provide complete sets of data from sites of two stream types, distributed across Central and Northern Europe, in order to inter-calibrate methods, integrate data from a variety of taxonomic/morphological sources, to standardise their application to the assignment of sites to grades of ecological status and to identify those forms of data best suited to which regions, which source of environmental stress and which stage (e.g. early or late) of environmental perturbation.
For the purposes of this proposal two core streams types are recognised: small-sized, shallow, mountain streams (core stream type 1) and medium-sized, deeper, lowland streams (core stream type 2). Besides the evaluation of existing data (Workpackage 4) we will sample a completely new data set to gain comparable data on various taxonomic groups taken with a set of different methods from sites representing different stages of degradation. This will be a main source of data for cross-comparisons and the preparation of standards.
The specific rules governing the number and type of sites to be sampled are as follows:
- For each stream type in each country three reference sites with no stress will be sampled (Ecological Status = 'High').
- For each stream type in each country only one site will be sampled for each ecological grade of each ecological stress (Ecological Status = 'Good', 'Moderate', 'Poor' and 'Bad') except that Ecological Status 'Bad' is considered unlikely to occur and will not recognised for habitat degradation/low flow sites.
- The stress types have already been allocated to the stream types and countries but are not shown here. Usually, two stress types per stream type and country will be investigated.
The following samples will be taken:
- AQEM macroinvertebrate samples will be taken at all sites. Each AQEM sample will be taken according to the standard protocol.
- Other 'macroinvertebrate methods': In general, for the purpose of method inter-calibration, the methods most frequently applied in the participating countries will be used (RIVPACS in the UK, IBE in Italy, IBGN in France, PERLA in the Czech Republic and the Nordic Standard in Denmark and Sweden; some of these methods are only applied in Workpackage 8). Invertebrates will be sampled in two seasons (spring and autumn).
- At each site phytobenthos (spring or summer according to geographic region) and fish (late summer) will be sampled in only one season. Diatoms will be sampled using the standard TDI (Trophic Diatom Index) protocol.
- Fish surveys will be undertaken using the proposed CEN standard CEN/TC230/WG2/TG4/N8. Identification and measurement of fish will take place at the bankside, if possible. Identification will always be to species level.
- Standardised macrophyte surveys will be undertaken in summer only, using MTR (Mean Trophic Rank) and/or equivalent European Member State standard protocols.
- River corridor/habitat surveys will be undertaken using RHS (River Habitat Survey) or equiva-lent European Member State standard protocols. River Habitat Survey, or equivalent procedures, are field based recording systems, supplemented by additional time variant information acquired from cartographic/GIS sources. For each sampling site the AQEM site protocol containing 130 hydrological, abiotic and morphological parameters will be completed to gain comparable information on the ecological status.
The sampling, survey and sample processing protocols to be used are all standard techniques currently in use in one or more Council of Europe Member State or research projects and each are prescribed in detailed, publicly available manuals. Sorting and identification of diatom and macroinvertebrate samples will be undertaken in the laboratory using prescriptive procedures in standard manuals. Identification will be to the best achievable and should be to species level wherever possible. Sorting and identification will be primarily by the scientific partners of the relevant Member State.
River Habitat Survey (or equivalent) is a field based recording system, supplemented by additional time variant information acquired from cartographic/GIS sources. For each sampling site the AQEM site protocol containing 130 hydrological, abiotic and morphological parameters will be completed to gain comparable information on the ecological status.