Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index(QHEI)

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Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index(QHEI)- The following is from a paper by Dr. Steve Gordon of the Ohio State University. For the entire paper please click here.

The QHEI index is intended to provide a quantitative evaluation of the qualitative physical characteristics of a given stream reach. This index is similar to the biological indices, IBI and ICI and is measured at each site where IBI data is obtained (Ohio EPA 1989). Again, similar to IBI and ICI, QHEI is composed of six metrics which take in account variables such as bottom substrate, channel morphology, riparian cover, and other modifications to the stretch. A QHEI measurement can have a maximum score of 100. The following is a brief description of the metrics comprising Ohio EPA's QHEI as outlined by Ohio EPA (1989).

Substrate - measures two components - substrate type and substrate quality; takes into account variables like parent material, embeddedness of cobble, gravel and boulders and silt cover. The maximum score is 20

Instream Cover - measures instream cover type and amount. The maximum score is 20

Channel Morphology - includes channel sinuosity, development, stability and channelization; indicates the quality of the stream channel in relation to creation and stability of the macrohabitat. The maximum score is 20

Riparian Zone and Bank Erosion - measures floodplain quality, extent of bank erosion and the width of the riparian zone; serves as indication of the quality of the riparian buffer and floodplain vegetation. The maximum score is 10

Pool and Riffle Quality - component measures include overall diversity of current velocities, pool depth and morphology and riffle-run depth, substrate and substrate quality; serves as indication of the quality of the pool and riffle habitats.  The maximum score is a combined 20 (12 for pool, 8 for riffle)

Map Gradient - calculation of elevation drop through sampling area; accounts for varying influence of gradient with respect to stream size. The maximum score is 10

 

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Last updated: April 7, 2009.