Established in 2014, RammSanderson provides MoRPH River Survey and assessments across the United Kingdom. 

Our experts assess the quality of physical habitat and river systems to ensure the sustainability and protection of water-dependent wildlife.

Watercourse Geomorphological Surveys and Discharge Modelling

Watercourses in the UK have famously been adapted and modified for development across hundreds of years. 

Modular River Physical Survey (MoRPH) and River Habitat Surveys (RHS) can be undertaken by our in-house experts, to indicate the current condition and physical habitat present at these watercourses. 

In addition to our MoRPH River Survey services, RammSanderson can undertake detailing flow regime profiling of a river's cross-section to enable the calculation of discharge rates using state-of-the-art modelling equipment. 

Flood risk

River Habitat Surveys 

A River Habitat Survey (RHS) is a field-based assessment designed to characterise and assess the physical structure of freshwater streams and rivers. Whilst an RHS survey is similar to a MoRPH River Survey, it can serve different purposes within the context of environmental assessments and river management.

RHS is carried out over standard 550m reaches, with observations at 10 equal spaces spot checks along the channel. The survey also gathers information on wider valley form, land use, substrate, bank profile and other geomorphological aspects.

These are used to characterise habitat features and suitability. To date, there have been over 25,000 RHS surveys across the UK, which help to characterise and identify the habitats and pressures associated with the watercourse.

Aquatic permit applications

RHS can be used to generate values used to compare rivers across a range of indices, including:

Habitat Modification Score (HMS)

This is a breakdown of the “naturalness of a reach”, whereby different modifications to the reach are graded. The higher the score, the more “unnatural” a river’s reach is. 

Riparian Quality Index (RQI)

Riparian Quality Index assesses the complexity, naturalness, and continuity of the riparian zone (the interface between land, or a river). The score generated is between 0 and 120.  The higher the score, the better the riparian quality.  

Habitat Quality Assessment (HQA)

The HQA scores detail the features associated with the reach which may promote habitat quality such as point bars, or eroding cliffs. The higher the score, the more features the channel has, and the better habitat quality it contains. 

River Habitat Quality (RHQ)

Takes scores from HMS and HQA against benchmark sites to generate an overall score to analyse against comparable reaches. 

RammSanderson can perform RHS surveys in-house, with multiple certified surveyors. RHS is normally recommended, rather than a MoRPH River Survey, when comparing multiple reaches, or with the wider environment and is a great indicator to establish to what extent watercourses have been affected. 

MoRPH River Survey (Modular River Physical Habitat) 

A MoRPH River Survey is derived from RHS methodology but uses smaller length sub reaches and modules to provide more specific detail. 

The survey is designed to record the varieties, and abundances, of physical habitats and human pressures, i.e. 

  • Vegetation structure
  • Sediment calibre
  • Landforms
  • Flow types

A MoRPH River Survey is taken from the bankside, or within the channel, with information taken at different nodes along the river’s length. As such, MoRPH is used for Biodiversity Net Gain and is how watercourse condition assessments are performed. 

Once MoRPH River Survey data is compiled, this data can be analysed using specialist software to generate indices that can be fed into a national database. Therefore, MoRPH is crucial for categorising changes at a site over time and can also be used to record a baseline. 

Morph assessments are likely to be required where a development directly impacts the riverbed, banks, or the works area (if within 10m of the bank).  

Our specialists have the appropriate MoRPH training qualification to enable surveys to be carried out in-house. 

MORPH River Survey

Discharge Modelling 

RammSanderson has access to state-of-the-art equipment which can be deployed to calculate specific river discharge, using transects to build a representative map of flow. 

Discharge modelling may need to be undertaken to inform discharge consents/permits to work out current discharge rates before new flows are added. Alternatively, to understand the flow for modelling purposes and river restoration. 

Restoring habitats

Why Choose RammSanderson for MoRPH River Survey Services and River Habitat Surveys?

With over 20 years of experience, our licenced ecological experts will work closely with you to ensure you receive a comprehensive MoRPH River Survey and River Habitat Survey.

Our in-house experts boast the necessary MoRPH training qualifications to execute surveys with precision and efficiency. We have a proven track record of reliability and accuracy and understand the importance of ensuring sustainability and the protection of water-dependent wildlife.  

RammSanderson has a team of experienced consultants ready to carry out MoRPH River Survey Services and River Habitat Surveys. Get in touch today!