Habitat specific assessment methods
Canal and navigable waterway habitats are subject to their own particular environmental stressors.
Limited in-channel habitat variability concentrates aquatic fauna within marginal habitats.
This distribution of fauna, combined with physical features of these waterways, steep-sided and deep, necessitates adaptations to traditional sampling methodologies.
Canals are surveyed using Canal PSYM (Predictive System for Multimetrics) methodology; here faunal composition is used to assess both water quality and bank degradation.
Navigable waterways are surveyed using a combination of sweep and dredge-net methodologies, from both bank and boat.
The presence of reinforced banks may dictate the use of bespoke methodologies, such as artificial substrates, to investigate specific water quality issues.
The conservation value of a canal can be assessed using the same metrics as rivers and streams; species richness and diversity indices and the Community Conservation Index (CCI).