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Keywords:

  • IFIM;
  • physical habitat modelling;
  • bioindication;
  • brown trout;
  • generalization

ABSTRACT

Microhabitat preferences of adult brown trout (Salmo trutta m. fario) were monitored for the purpose of determining design parameters for river restoration. The habitat preferences were evaluated during the summer period of minimum flows. Since 1995, field measurements have been performed in 52 reaches in 43 mountain and piedmont streams. The relationship between hydraulic characteristics and the values of maximum habitat suitability derived from velocity and depth habitat suitability curves (HSCs) was statistically determined. Trout in natural stream reaches showed a strong degree of dependence on depths, but in regulated streams, they were dependent on velocities.

The representative habitat suitability curves for four depth intervals were extrapolated. From these outputs, the optimum depths of a microhabitat for river restoration measures and/or assessment of the influence of water withdrawals can be derived. The influence of geological regions on the shape of HSCs has not been proved; therefore, it is conceivable that after verification, the generalized HSCs may also be valid in other mountain and piedmont regions. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.