HOME® Habitat Optimization Model for Ecosystems

    HOME® is an ecohydraulic tool developed to assist managers, engineers and scientists with aquatic habitat monitoring, restoration and management.

    Most commonly used riverine models, design tools and monitoring analytics are limited to hydrologic, hydraulic or geomorphic metrics, often in numeric format depicting a snapshot in time. HOME combines hydraulic model output with physical measurements and biologic criteria to produce visual and numeric output representing aquatic habitat. HOME helps produce better designs by quantifying expected change in habitats and providing a means to monitor actual change in habitat based on flow. Thus, managers can use visual and numeric representations of habitat to adapt management strategies as flows and habitat change over time.

    HOME can be used to evaluate any hydraulic project utilizing standard 1D or 2D models. The quality of output is dependent on the resolution and quality of the baseline hydraulic model. However, we have found even coarse models can be used in a HOME analysis to produce useful results for habitat managers.

    GeoEngineers has already completed HOME analyses with the following hydraulic models:

    • HEC-RAS 1D
    • HEC-RAS 2D
    • FLO-2D
    • River2D
    • RiverFlow2D
    • SRH-2D

    Play the video below to see a demonstration of HOME in action.

    Many hydraulic projects early in the design phase require analyses with the 1D model HEC-RAS (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) to evaluate existing and proposed channel conditions. In this video, we started with standard 1D HEC-RAS outputs and conducted a small amount of additional field work to collect physical measurements. We then quickly generated results with HOME. The video demonstrates how the quantity and quality of habitat changes as streamflow increases and decreases. Habitat managers know to look for conditions where available habitat significantly decreases (a habitat bottleneck) and adapt habitat management strategies to eliminate these bottlenecks.

    With HOME, river habitat managers, scientists and engineers can illustrate—and quantify—the complexities of aquatic ecosystems for their stakeholders.

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