River health indicators are the measures to reflect the river ecosystem health condition and river ecosystem integrity, which are very important for exact and comprehensive assessment of river health. However, previous studies on river health indicators in our country were mostly focused on the structural aspects of river ecosystem, and functional indicators were rarely reported. This study reviewed the most used functional indicators briefly and introduced the application and criteria of two typical structural and functional indicators. Meanwhile,a case study of Ohyama River environmental flow restoration was introduced to illustrate the application of metabolism in Japan. The results show that the functional indicators can well response to the new environmental flow. The study may be helpful for enriching the indicator system for river health assessment in our country.
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