River Condition Assessment

Understanding the condition of our rivers is crucial to ensure future works, such as Flood Alleviation Schemes and River Restoration, provide net gain for biodiversity.

What is River Condition Assessment?

River Condition Assessment blog

The River Condition Assessment (RCA) involves a field- and desk-based element known as a Modular River Physical (MoRPh) survey. A MoRPh survey collects information about sub-reaches of a river including vegetation, physical properties and the river margins. The field and desk-based information are collated in an online database which categorises the river into one of 15 river types (canals, large rivers, 13 river planform-bed material types).

How does it fit in with Biodiversity Net Gain?

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is calculated using the Defra Biodiversity Metric 3.0 tool, which now underpins the Environment Act 2021 provisions for mandatory BNG in England. The RCA is based upon condition indicators that are extracted from the MoRPh field data and the desk-based assessment. The values generated from the combination of the field and desk study can be inputted into the Biodiversity Metric 3.0 to calculate net gain.

River Condition Assessment blogHow can it help steer project design?

The RCA comprises several condition indicators which are given a positive or negative score based on the field and desk study. Identifying condition indicators with a negative score can aid restoration techniques and help improve the condition of the river and achieve Biodiversity Net Gain.

Want to know more?

We have nine accredited MoRPh surveyors and we are already using these surveys for various riverine based projects. You can contact Jennifer Dhinsa for more information about River Condition Assessment surveys.



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