MoRPh: A citizen science tool for monitoring and appraising physical habitat changes in river
Water and Environment Journal
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The MoRPh survey is designed to enable citizen scientists to monitor physical habitat mosaics and human pressures within short (up to 40 m) river reaches called modules. MoRPh underpins a multi-scale Modular River Survey, providing local information, which when collected across 10 contiguous modules, delivers a MultiMoRPh river sub-reach survey up to 400 m in length. This, in turn, contributes to a HydroMoRPh assessment of reaches extending to tens of kilometres of river length, based on secondary data sources. A six month trial on chalk streams, demonstrates that indices calculated from MoRPh surveys can detect notable differences in hydraulic, sediment, physical and vegetation habitat characteristics across this single river type. Further tests will evaluate applicability to other river types and ability to detect temporal changes. Development of aggregate indices for MultiMoRPh sub-reaches will aid interpretation of contemporary morphological dynamics, complementing longer term changes extracted at the reach scale by a HydroMoRPh analysis.