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Keywords:

  • river restoration;
  • meandering morphology;
  • lowland rivers;
  • macroinvertebrate community;
  • river-bed stability;
  • point bars;
  • edge habitats

Abstract

  • 1.
    Many rivers and streams across the world have been channelized for various purposes. Channel cross-sections of meandering rivers are asymmetrical and have cross-sectional diversity in their physical environment; cross-sections of a channelized river are typically trapezoidal and have little cross-sectional diversity, both in physical and ecological conditions. Several programmes to restore stream meanders have been undertaken to improve river ecosystems degraded by channelization. However, the association between diversification in the physical environment due to meander restoration and the macroinvertebrate community structure is poorly known.
  • 2.
    This study of a lowland river in Japan assessed how the cross-sectional diversity of the physical environment changed with restoration of a meander in a channelized river, and how the macroinvertebrate communities responded to the changes in physical habitat variation. Comparisons were made between the macroinvertebrate communities of a channelized reach, the restored meandering reach, and a natural meandering reach.
  • 3.
    Natural meandering and restored meandering reaches showed higher cross-sectional diversity in physical variables and total taxon richness across a reach than did the channelized reach. Almost all taxa observed in the natural and restored meandering reaches were concentrated in the shallowest marginal habitats near the banks. Shear velocity increasing with water depth had a negative association with macroinvertebrate density and richness.
  • 4.
    This study demonstrated that the shallow river bed along the inside of bends formed point bars that provided a highly stable substrate, a suitable habitat for macroinvertebrates in a lowland river. It is concluded that meander restoration could be an effective strategy for in-stream habitat restoration in lowland meandering rivers.

Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.