Integral analysis of water bodies using an aquatic ecological model
To assess the potential ecological status of the watercourses, Flanders Environment Agency (VMM) has been developing the aquatic ecological model ELMO since 2013. VMM wants to use this model to explain the occurrence and absence of certain species in a watercourse, but also wants to evaluate the effect of specific measures on the occurrence of species.
ELMO was initially developed for three biological groups: macrophytes, macro-invertebrates and fish. During the further development of ELMO within the scope of the LIFE Belini project, the focus is primarily on macro-invertebrates.
ELMO will be applied as a decision support tool in the development of the Programme of Measures for the Flemish part of the River Basin Management Plan for the Scheldt river basin district. It will be used to identify the pressures with the highest priority that have to be countered in order to restore the ecological condition, both in terms of water quality as in terms of river morphology.
Furthermore, it will be used to assess scenarios of water quality improvement actions to evaluate the proposed Programme of Measures. Information on water quality will be derived from measurements and water quality modelling. For the information on hydro-morphology a study has been conducted to draw up a river morphology map based on Lidar data and extrapolations of measurements.