Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
About PNNL
printer icon

River Habitat Model (RHM) developed by PNNL


Tool Website:


River Habitat Model (RHM) is an ArcGIS-based model that estimates habitat availability from hydraulic model output. RHM can be applied to output from any 1D or 2D hydraulic model to estimate habitat availability for any life stage of any organism of interest (e.g., fish, bird, invertebrate, plant). The model is designed to estimate habitat availability as a function of varying river discharge and physical channel characteristics.

Geographic Location

RHM was developed and applied to estimate salmon spawning habitat availability in the Columbia and Snake rivers. RHM has also been applied for estimating emergent sandbar habitat and shallow water habitat (all for a variety of organisms) in the Missouri River. RHM can be applied to any river.


Bathymetry and floodplain elevation; river discharge, stage, depth, velocity; habitat suitability criteria for organism of interest


GIS data for habitat quantity, quality and location for each model scenario; date and time stamped summary HTML report for each model scenario

Linkage to Other Models

Can be linked to any 1D or 2D hydraulic model via text files; examples include SRH-2D/1D, RMA2, MD_SWMS, River2d, MIKE 11/21, MASS1/2

Level of Effort

Requires hydraulic modeling expertise to setup, calibrate, validate model (if not already completed); habitat suitability expertise for organism of interest; GIS expertise for spatial data analyses and running RHM; Minimum time: 2 weeks if all input data are available in GIS format

Basin Scale Opportunity Assesment