Application and comparative analysis of three rapid assessment protocols to characterize fluvial landscape

Abstract Fluvial systems are endowed with features such as heterogeneity and variability which allow the classification of a fluvial landscape. Rapid assessment protocols have been useful tools for the characterization of integrity, especially in river segment scale. The objective of this paper was to apply three protocols in order to evaluate their performance in comparison with each other and with the results obtained by analytical methods of water quality assessment and an evaluation of the aquatic macro-invertebrate community. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (nMDS) was applied using water quality parameters, trophic state index (IET), and abundance data of benthic macro-invertebrates. In addition, the study determined correlations between the index and the protocols' final scores. The protocols' feasibility for habitat characterization was confirmed, since the results were compatible for all procedures applied. Despite some particularities, each protocol offered a particular description of general aspects that affect river integrity, indicating which habitat conditions best support aquatic biodiversity in urban rivers.