NEW – RHS Toolbox 1.4 with automated derivation of GIS data and new quality indices

The RHS Toolbox 1.4 features new functionality to extract map data such as altitude, slope and geology as well as indices on hydromorphological naturalness and fine sediment runoff from agricultural sources. The software also features new indices assessing hydromorphological impact.

The new tools will help practitioners with habitat assessment for the Water Framework Directive, Planning Applications, River Restoration and more. 

The software is on a free trial for 30 days and it is available for 32 and 64 bit version of Office.

New features:

Automated map data extraction for sites in England, Wales and Scotland (only available to licenced users)

To be able to run a context analysis with the RHS Toolbox, you need to derive altitude, slope, distance to source and height of source to calculate the PCA score for your site that will be used to select sites of similar types (see Jeffers, 1998 in References and Context analysis).

Using the RHS Toolbox, you can now automatically extract this information using a database of previously derived point on the river network. A form will display all nearby points using the mid-site grid reference and you will be able to map them to decide which one to choose for your site (see below). This feature is only available to licenced users and is not available to trial versions.

The process will not only extract data on for PCA score calculation but also background information on geology, sinuosity, typology using the Jeffers types (1998) and also predictions for four hydromorphological indices (Indices) in semi-natural conditions. This will enable the calculation of Hydromorphological Impact Ratio indices for your site to assess departure from semi-natural conditions (see below).

New indices

A series of indices and fields have been added to the interface.

Hydromorphological Impact Ratios

Provided your site is located in Great Britain, the software will extract predictions for four hydromorphological indices (Appendix 2 and also in the resource section and Naura et al, 2016) at semi-natural conditions (the ‘expected’ column in the figure below). These indices were derived as part of a research project (Naura et al ms).  The RHS Toolbox will then calculate Hydromorphological Impact Ratios (HIR) for each index.

Hydromorphological Impact Ratios representing the distance to semi-natural condition in % for four hydromorphological indices

HIRs represent the level of departure from semi-natural condition (or impact) for each index compared to the maximum level of departure (or maximum possible impact) that could be expected (see figure below and Appendix 4 or here for download). The HIRs are expressed as percentage values from 0% (no impact) to 100% (maximum possible impact). The site HIR represents the maximum possible impact for any of the four indices categorised into 12.5% impact classes:

  • Very Low : HIRindex between 0 and 12.5%
  • Low : HIRindex between 12.5 and 25%
  • Moderate : HIRindex between 25 and 37.5%
  • High : HIRindex between 37.5 and 50%
  • Very High : HIRindex between 50 and 100%.
Hydromorphological Impact Ratio derivation for the Channel Substrate Index. The ratio represents the relative difference between observed and expected index values compared to the maximum possible impact observable.

Agricultural fine sediment load and potential risk to biota

Provided your site is located in Great Britain, the software will extract information on agricultural fine sediment delivery to your site in tonnes per year and derive a series of indices representing Agricultural Sediment Load (ASL), Fine Sediment Accumulation (FSA) and overall Agricultural Sediment Risk (ASR). These indices were derived as part of research for the UK government and published in 2016 (Naura et al 2016).

Total agricultural fine sediment delivery represent all fine sediments transported from upstream in the water column and local sediment delivery through run-off and tributary inputs. The data are derived using modelling but can be entered by hand by the user.

Local agricultural fine sediment delivery represent all fine sediments delivered through run-off and tributary inputs.

The Fine Sediment Accumulation index is derived directly from your RHS site spot-check data for channel substrate.  Sites will be categorised according to the number of spot-checks with silt, sand or clay as:

  • Very low = 0 spot-checks with fine sediments
  • Low = 1 spot-check with fine sediments
  • Moderate =2,3 spot-checks with fine sediments
  • High = 4 to 6 spot-checks with fine sediments
  • Very high = 7 to 10 spot-checks with fine sediments

The ASR combines the FSA and ASL using the following matrix

For more information about the software, you can go to the software page or read the manual online.

Instructions to download and install the RHS Toolbox:
1- Download the zip file for the relevant version of the RHS Toolbox: 

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2- Create a RHS folder somewhere on your computer (e.g. C drive) and extract the content of the zip file into that folder.
3- If you do not have Access 2010 or later already installed on your PC, you can download and install the free Access 2016 runtime here
4- Double-click the file RHSDataInput.accdr.

The RHS Toolbox development requires investment in time and resources so it is unfortunately not possible to deliver it free of charge. You have access to a trial version for 30 days after which you will have to register and purchase a license. During the trial period, every time you log in, you will be asked whether you wish to purchase a license and register. Information on pricing can be found here

Potential issues: the RHS Toolbox was tested on UK (English) Windows Operating Systems. Due to different ways of representing decimal points, some of its functionality may not work on French and other Operating Systems that use commas (,) instead of points (.) to represent the decimal fraction of real numbers. Please let us know if you come across such problems.