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The Modular Stepwise Procedure for the analysis and assessment of watercourses includes survey methods at three different levels of intensity in the areas of hydrodynamics and morphology, biology, and chemical/toxic effects. The present report describes the method applicable at the regional (R) level whereby watercourses can be assessed on the basis of populations of bottom-dwelling creatures (benthic macroinvertebrates). This is designed to provide a rough indication of the biological condition of streams and rivers over a relatively wide area.

The macroinvertebrate species recorded are those whose life cycle is largely dependent on the aquatic subhabitats that are typical of the watercourses. The procedure involves the use of simple collection methods such as “kick sampling” and hand-picking of organisms clinging to the coarse substrate. The assessment of samples at the regional level is based on the standardized calculation of a quality index. For this purpose, a simplified assumption is used, i.e. that anthropogenic damage to watercourses generally leads to a reduction in biological diversity, with insects being affected in particular. To assess the biological condition, the index points calculated are assigned to one of five quality classes. The numerical evaluation is supplemented by a verbal description of the biological condition of the watercourse.



Köcherbild (Odontocerum albicorne).

Photo: Heini Vicentini


Modul Makrozoobenthos

Module Macrozoobenthos
  • Description de la méthode niveau R [2.4 MB]


Protocole de terrain