Estimation of Environmental Flows in Semi-Natural Lowland Rivers – the Narew Basin Case Study
Mikołaj Piniewski1, Michael C. Acreman2, Charles J. Stratford2, Tomasz Okruszko1, Marek Giełczewski1, Mariusz Teodorowicz3, Marek Rycharski4, Zuzanna Oświecimska-Piasko4
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1Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Warsaw University of Life Sciences,
Nowoursynowska 159, 02-787 Warszawa, Poland
2Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 8BB, United Kingdom
3Department of Environment Protection Engineering, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn,
Oczapowskiego 5, 10-957 Olsztyn, Poland
4Insitute of Technology and Life Sciences, Falenty, Hrabska 3, 05-090 Raszyn, Poland
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2011;20(5):1281–1293
This paper discusses a new environmental flow method based on the adapted building block approach. A four-step procedure is outlined in this paper:
(1) selecting biota of interest and organizing a team of specialists
(2) selecting river reaches of interest
(3) defining flow requirements of selected biota
(4) defining environmental flow indicators
The focus is placed on two elements of river and wetland ecosystems: fish and floodplain wetland vegetation. The method is applied to identify changes in the environmental flow indicators between 1976-83 (“past”) and 2001-08 (“present”) in 16 selected river reaches of the Narew basin, a large semi-natural lowland catchment situated in northeastern Poland. The results indicate that hydrological conditions for fish and floodplain wetland vegetation were significantly better in the past period compared to the present.