A multi-approach Lake Habitat Survey method for impact assessment in two heavily modified lakes: a case of two Northern Greek lakes

Environ Monit Assess. 2018 Oct 20;190(11):658. doi: 10.1007/s10661-018-7045-0.


Despite hydromorphological pressure assessment is required by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), there is not one commonly accepted method for this purpose. The extent of habitat alteration and naturalness loss is a major issue especially for heavily modified water bodies (HMWBs) in terms of their maximum ecological potential designation. In this research, a broadly used methodology in Central and Northern Europe, Lake Habitat Survey (LHS), is tested for the first time in Greece in two natural urban shallow lakes to estimate the extent of habitat modification and hydromorphological alteration. The LHS methodology was deployed using three different approaches (on foot, by boat, and remotely by satellite sensing), by two observers, to assess simultaneously the method's reproducibility and subjectivity and selecting the best approach. All three LHS deriving indices (Lake Habitat Quality Assessment-LHQA, Lake Habitat Modification Score-LHMS, and Alteration of Lake Morphology Scores-ALMS) for each approach and each observer were calculated. Both lakes were described as substantially changed in character, receiving multiple pressures and hosting habitats of impaired quality and degraded shores. The research revealed low level of consistency among the approaches but highlighted the method's objectivity since no statistically significant differences were found on indices between the two observers. LHS proved to be an easily applicable, useful tool for hydromorphological assessment in these two case studies and could be further applied as a WFD screening tool.

Keywords: Hydromorphology; Kastoria; LHS; Lake habitat; Pamvotis; Pressures.

MeSH terms

  • Ecology
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Europe
  • Greece
  • Lakes / analysis*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires