Estimation of Stream Health Using Flow-Based Indices Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2018 by the authors. Existing methods to estimate stream health are often location-specific, and do not address all of the components of stream health. In addition, there are very few guidelines to estimate the health of a stream, although the literature and useful tools such as Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration (IHA) are available. This paper describes an approach developed for estimating stream health. The method involves the: (1) collection of flow data; (2) identification of hydrologic change; (3) estimation of some hydrologic indicators for pre-alteration and post-alteration periods; and (4) the use of those hydrologic indicators with the scoring framework of the Dundee Hydrologic Regime Assessment Method (DHRAM). The approach estimates the stream health in aggregate including all of the components, such as riparian vegetation, aquatic species, and benthic organisms. Using the approach, stream health can be estimated at two different levels: (1) the existence or absence of a stream health problem based on the concept of eco-deficit and eco-surplus using flow duration curves; and (2) the estimation of overall stream health using the IHA-DHRAM method. The procedure is demonstrated with a case example of the White Rock Creek watershed in Texas in the United States (US). The approach has great potential to estimate stream health and prescribe flow-based goals for the restoration of impaired streams.

altmetric score

  • 2.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Kannan, N., Anandhi, A., & Jeong, J.

citation count

  • 9

publication date

  • March 2018