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Services | Instream Flow | RHABSIM

Sample Screen Captures

RHABSIM screen capture.
3-dimensional graph of the reach.


RHABSIM screen capture.
Velocity Histogram shows the bottom profiles and velocities
for one or more cross-sections in a reach.
RHABSIM (Riverine HABitat SIMuation) is a fully integrated program for river hydraulics and aquatic habitat modeling using the Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM). Running in Microsoft Windows and DOS, it is an extensive conversion of the PHABSIM hydraulic and habitat simulation system developed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Normadeau's Thomas Payne has collaborated with colleagues to create new, comprehensive software that "implements the substance of the IFIM." SEFA, System for Environmental Flow Analysis, is available on a new website

Features of RHABSIM

CONVERT - File conversions, import and export features
  • Import and export PHABSIM data files (IFG4, MSQ and WSP).
  • Import standard ASCII files with X, Y, Vel and Attribute data.
  • Import acoustic Doppler files. Automatic generation of average cell velocities. Option to calculate cross-section bearing. Graphic interface allows easy adjustment vels to cross-section, shows boat-track, calculated cross-section, bad points. Correctly finds negative velocities. Report shows ADCP reported flow compared with RHABSIM calculated flow.
  • Convert files between metric and U.S. units.
FIELDAT - Field data entry, bottom profiles, velocities and attributes
  • Easy data input and integrity checking
  • Full implementation of Cross-section raw data entry:
    • Users can enter Bottom Profile data using direct x/y coordinates or using Height-of-Instrument, rod readings and depth values. Multiple surveys can be calculated as average, maximum or minimum bed elevations.
    • Users can enter Velocity data using direct entry or by calculating with Meter types (and multiple algorithms), revs, time, and angles to meter. Users can load and save Meter formula profile files.
  • Stage-Discharge data entry worksheet with Stage, Given Flow (best estimate), Calculated Flow, Stage-of-zero Flow and Regression Plot Stage fields. S.Z.F. can be calculated using a recursive best-fit R-squared algorithm.
  • Stage-Discharge data can be reordered in calibration set or globally (at all cross-sections).
  • Weight-Distance-Slope worksheet includes option to set by upstream distance and weighting factor or by percent of total reach. Plan view graph shows relative weighting of all cross-sections in reach.
  • Four cross-section data graphs:
    • Cross-section graph of bottom profile and vels.
    • Long-profile graph of high/low banks, WSLs, thalweg and SZF.
    • 3-dimensional view of cross-sections. View entire reach, rotate in full X/Y/Z orientations.
    • Vel histogram of single or all cross-sections.
  • Complete set of cross-section data reports
    • Problem check report for data completeness and consistancy. Identifies when WSL goes over bank, when cell is under water but has no vel, and when cell is out of water but does have vel.
    • Calibration information report for Stage-Discharge data.
    • Complete hydraulic report including wetted cell count, wetted area, wetted width, hydraulic radius and average depth for each calibration stage at each cross-section.
    • Summary Discharge table with average vels and vels with meter angles included or not.
    • Vel histogram of single or all cross-sections.
  • Insert, delete, copy and reorder cross-sections, save subsets to new RHABSIM data files.
  • Export cross-section data to ASCII and spreadsheet files.
HYDSIM - Hydraulic calibrations, Stage/Discharge, WSL and Vel modeling
  • Up to 30 Calibration Flows.
  • Three Hydraulic Water Surface Level calibration models with extensive variations
    • LOG-LOG REGRESSION, including Dual Stage Discharge calibration option, and full regression statistics report.
    • CHANNEL CONVEYANCE (MANSQ), including Manning and Chezy equations, three Beta adjustment types, Weighted Area option and subtraction of hydraulic radius from hyrad at stage-of-zero flow option. Interactive graph allows quick view of effects of different options.
    • STEP-BACKWATER simulation (WSP), including Between and At cross-section Reach Manning's calibration, expansion and contraction coeficients and roughness modifier coeficients with automatic calculation.
  • Users can select separate WSL and Velocity calibration methods at each cross-section. Use the best available method for sections of reach (pool, riffle, run, etc.)
  • Velocity calibration with extensive options:
    • Two algorithms: Roughness and Velocity Distribution Factors.
    • Three calibration methods: 1-Vel, Regresssion and Depth.
    • Variable Roughness Coefficient, Regression B-max and five methods of Beta control support.
    • Cell N-min/N-max and Given and calculated cell Manning N's.
    • Velocity Adjustment Factors fully supported.
  • Eight Hydraulic Calibration graphs:
    • Rating Curve (WSL vs. Flow)
    • Long Profile WSLs
    • Single Calibration Flow/WSL
    • Cross-section WSLs and Vels
    • WSL Regression
    • Velocity Adjustment Factor
    • Channel Coneyance Stage/Discharge
    • Roughness Manning Cross-section
  • Extensive Hydraulic Calibration reports
    • Calibration Hydraulics report.
    • WSL Flow hydraulics report.
    • Summary Report of all Calibration parameters.
    • Velocity Adjust Factor report includes WSL, Calibration Flow, Calculated Flow, VAF and Dual Calibration Flow (if selected).
  • Export PHABSIM Tape3/Tape4 files.
CRITERIA - Species Curve libraries
  • Import and export PHABSIM (.RCV) and ASCII data files.
    • Merge different curve files and extract subsets to new files.
    • Plot data by curve set or by variable.
    • Sort curve sets by ID, Species Name, Life Stage or Habitat conditions.
    • Convert curve set files between metric and U.S. units.
    • Individual curve set and library summary reports.
HABSIM - Habitat simulation, Weighted Usable Area calculations
  • Use Hydraulic Calibration data with species criteria curves to simulate aquatic habitats.
  • Process multiple simulation flows (up to 30) in a single run.
  • Select any combination of species curve sets.
  • Select which Substrate/Cover Attributes to use in run.
  • Automatic check of data integrity (data complete, variable available, Attribute correctly assigned).
  • Habitat Simulation Job Files allow saving, restoring, and comparisons of multiple runs with similar parameters.
  • Full process control with Methods and Parameters:
    • Four Combined Suitability Methods: Standard, Geometric Mean, Lowest Limit, or Weighted Average (user weights each variable).
    • Control whether to use Attribute values of zero.
    • Cells can centered over data points or offset to right.
    • The Feeding Station algorithm implements search distances, initial velocities, two velocity limit options and two velocity scan methods.
  • Habitat Simulation and Weighted Usable Area production run reports:
    • Tables of simulated discharge, total surface area, weighted usable area and percent of total area.
    • Cell details include width, depth, vels and individual calculated suitability factors for each variable.
    • Cross-section summary reports include WSLs, reach lengths, gross and usable areas, gross and usable areas per 1000 distance, and percent usable for each simulation flow with each curve set at each cross-section.
  • Habitat Simulation and Weighted Usable Area graphs:
    • Flow vs. WUA graph with option to show as Flow vs. Percent of Total Area. View any combination of curve sets.
    • Graph cross-sections showing individual suitabilities, WSLs, vels and bottom profiles. See interactions of variables.
    • Plan view graph shows reach lengths, wetted widths, and individual suitabilities. See graphically where habitat is best in the reach.
  • Compare multiple runs with overlay graph and summary reports. See effects of different Methods and Parameters.
TIME SERIES - Flow and Habitat Duration Analysis
  • Streamflow data matrix can be set up as days by months, months by years, weeks by years or hours by days. Up to 600 columns of data (50 years as daily).
  • Import streamflow data from ASCII file or U.S.G.S. standard daily table file (available from internet).
  • Automatic column name function.
  • Select any combination of rows and columns to process (select out years or months or days of month).
  • Streamflow data report includes column minimums, maximums, means, medians and counts.
  • Streamflow data graph includes series, column stacking and exceedence options.
  • Weighted Usable Area data can be imported from RHABSIM, PHABSIM (Tape 8) or ASCII text file, or entered directly.
  • Interpolation/extrapolation options allow linear and non-linear (2nd and 3rd degree polynomial) curve fit for release flows out of range of WUA data. Interactive graph shows effects of options.
  • Operational options allow stream diversion minimum and maximum flows. Up to 10 release flows may be used to calculate habitat duration.
  • Natural flow regime (Flow Time Series and Flow Duration) can be calculated separately, even when there is no habitat data.
  • Reports and graphs can identify results at up to 20 Exceedence Percentiles, or all percentiles (1 to 99) can be reported.
  • Full control over calculated results reporting:
    • Flow and habitat matrix tables.
    • Column summaries of flow and WUA with duplicate entries automatically removed. View only unique results.
    • Tables of Percentile, Flow Duration and Habitat Duration for Natural and each Release Flow.
    • Summary table of Flow Release by reporting Percentile.
  • Five results graphs:
    • Flow Habitat Duration graphs. Show single or all flows, bounds of WUA data, range of all percentiles or minimum and maximum user input.
    • Flow and Habitat Time Series graphs. Show any combination of available flows.
    • Total Weighted Usable Area histogram. Show "area under curve" for all percentiles or minimum to maximum user percentile range. Color coding shows Release Flows which are greater/lesser than Natural.
  • Compare different runs with Time Series Results Overlay module. Summary table shows comaprison results for all flows in Flow and WUA matrices.
  • Four Overlay graphs:
    • Flow Duration overlay graph.
    • Habitat Duration overlay graph.
    • All flows histogram.
    • Single flow histogram.
GLOBAL features and Windows presentation report/graph programs
  • Extensive in-line help
  • Dedicated Windows graph and report programs:
    • Full control over report fonts and printer settings.
    • Extensive graphing options for best presentation.
    • Copy reports and graphs to Windows Clipboard and paste directly into word processing programs.
    • RHABSIM for Windows has ten graphs and 20 reports.
    • TIMESER for Windows has ten graphs and six reports.
    • All graphs can be printed in color (on color printers, of course).

Specifications and Program Limits

RHABSIM requires the following system specifications:
  • PC with 486 or Pentium CPU.
  • VGA or SVGA graphics card.
  • Operating system: Windows 3.1, Win95, Win98, 2000, or XP.
  • Required minimum disk space: 6 mb.
  • Minimum memory: 16 mb.
RHABSIM data files and processing allow the following data limits:
  • Up to 100 cross-sections per data file.
  • Up to 300 data points per cross-section.
  • Up to five Stage/Discharge calibration sets.
  • Up to 30 Calibration Flows (HYDSIM) and Simulation Flows (HABSIM).
  • One or two Attribute variables.
  • Criteria (species) curves may contain four variables (velocity, depth and two Attributes) and 200 data points.
  • Criteria curve library files may contain up to 50 curve sets.
  • Habitat simulation production runs may include up to 50 species (curve sets), although a maximum of 10 are used in the Compare runs module.
  • Time Series data files and production run parameters may contain:
    • Up to 600 streamflow columns (50 years as daily data).
    • Up to 10 Flow Releases.
    • Up to 20 Exceedence Percentiles to report (although all 99 may be reported).
    • Weighted Usable Area data may have up to 30 flows and ten species (criteria curves).

Frequently Asked Questions

I need to run a Time Series Flow and Habitat Duration analysis. I have Weighted Usable Area results from a PHABSIM run, but I don't have streamflow data for the river in question. Can RHABSIM import data from the U.S.G.S?

Yes, the U.S.G.S. publishes streamflow data on a web site at their National Water Information System (NWIS) home page. For the URL, see our links page These data can be imported directly into RHABSIM's Time Series module (up to 50 years of daily data.)


Troubleshooting RHABSIM installation problems

"Cannot find VBRUN300.DLL", "Cannot find QPRO200.DLL" message or unable to launch RHAB4WIN.EXE or WINSETUP.EXE:

RHAB4WIN.EXE and WINSETUP.EXE need the VBRUN300.DLL and QPRO200.DLL files supplied with RHABSIM Version 2.0. If Windows cannot find the files it cannot run these programs. To fix this problem, copy VBRUN300.DLL and QPRO200.DLL from the directory you installed RHABSIM to your Windows directory or your Windows/System directory.

"File not Found" message when running RHABSIM programs from Windows:

If the file is an RHABSIM executable file, make sure the Working Directory under WINDOWS Program Manager File/Properties for the RHABSIM Icon(s) is set correctly. Set them to the directory your RHABSIM executable programs are located at.
If the file is a WINDOWS run-time library (filename.DLL or filename.VBX) you may have to copy these files to you WINDOWS/SYSTEM directory before the programs will run. The RHABSIM Setup Program assumes WINDOWS can find the .DLL and .VBX files in your RHABSIM directory. On most configurations this is fine.

Troubleshooting run-time problems

"Cannot Find RHAB4WIN.INI" message:

The first time you run RHAB4WIN.EXE you will get a message that the RHAB4WIN.INI file cannot be found. This is normal as the INI file must contain information that is unique to your system. The RHAB4WIN program will create a default INI file after the warning message. If you get the "Cannot Find RHAB4WIN.INI" message at later times, it means your Working Directory under File/Properties for the RHAB4WIN Icon is not set correctly. Set it to the directory your RHABSIM executable programs are located at.

"Out of memory" error while running RHABSIM DOS modules:

RHABSIM DOS modules run in a "shell" from Windows. When Windows runs a DOS shell it uses configuration parameters from 1) your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files, and 2)the parameters set up from Windows.
Included in the RHABSIM package is the file RHABSIM.PIF which assigns sizes and options for running the DOS based RHABSIM programs. You may use PIFEDIT.EXE (supplied with Windows 3.1) to modify this file to suit your needs. If you have another DOS shell program (Norton's NDOS.COM for example, rather than the Microsoft COMMAND.COM) you may wish to modify the DOS shell configuration file to optimize the DOS window for RHABSIM. You can then run RHABSIM from a PIF file or directly from an Icon (we recommend the RMENU.EXE program as the primary RHABSIM launch program.)
If you have Windows 95 or 98, you can right-click on the RHABSIM 2.2 icon and choose Properties. From there you can edit the properties of the DOS shell
With either method, the size of your DOS shell is also dependent on the options and drivers loaded in your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files. You can edit these with any ASCII text editor (Windows' Notepad, for example.) Load only necessary drivers and use the following tips to maximize your DOS memory:
In your CONFIG.SYS file:
  • Use the "DOS=HIGH, UMB" command. This loads COMMAND.COM into high memory.
  • Use the "DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE xxxx" command. The EMM386.EXE driver allows configuration of Expanded Memory, which the RHABSIM DOS modules can make use of. For "xxxx" use at least "1024" (1 mb) of expanded memory, and up to "4096" (4 mb). RHABSIM will not need more than 4096 kb, so if your EMM386.EXE already has more, you can reduce it to 4096 to free up a little driver space.
  • Use the "DEVICEHIGH" command to load all other drivers in your CONFIG.SYS file. This will load these drivers into high memory and can free up considerable space in your DOS memory.
  • Use "FILESHIGH=36" or less, if possible. Each additional "FILES" uses memory to store information about open files. If you regularly have many files open, you should leave this at a higher number, as programs will not be able to run if more than 36 files are open at one time. Note: RHABSIM does NOT leave data files open, all files are opened only as needed and immediately closed when finished reading/writing.
  • Use "BUFFERSHIGH=12 or less, if possible. DOS buffers are use to store i/o data during reads/writes. They are only used to speed up operation and setting to a low number will not prevent any programs from running. The buffers are most useful when 1) you read/write often to floppy disks and 2) you DON'T have other disk cache software running
In your AUTOEXEC.BAT file:
  • Again, load only those drivers you actually need in the DOS environment.
  • Use the "LOADHIGH" to load all drivers. This places these programs in high memory, freeing up space for RHABSIM and other programs.
One last tip: When in a DOS shell from Windows, use the "MEM /c /p" command to view how your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS drivers are loaded into high memory. Sometimes, addresses for memory-resident programs have conflicts and DOS will place the program in low memory, even if the LOADHIGH or DEVICEHIGH commands are used. If this is happening, try to simply rearrange the order of the loads, re-boot and run MEM /c /p again to see if this fixed the problem. As a last resort, you can specify exactly where the memory-resident programs are loaded using the DEVICE=EMM386.EXE, the LOADHIGH and DEVICEHIGH commands. See your Windows and DOS documentation for more information (The following are typical names of Windows help text files: CONFIG.TXT, MSDOSDRV.TXT and TIPS.TXT. They are usually in your C:/WINDOWS directory.

Troubleshooting graph problems

3-Dimensional and Velocity Histogram graphs will not display:

These two graphs run under a separate module which requires an expanded memory driver in order to load all data from all cross-sections at one time.
You must use the "DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE xxxx" command in your CONFIG.SYS file. The EMM386.EXE driver allows configuration of Expanded Memory, which the RHABSIM DOS modules can make use of. For "xxxx" use at least "1024" (1 mb) of expanded memory, and up to "4096" (4 mb). RHABSIM will not need more than 4096 kb, so if your EMM386.EXE already has more, you can reduce it to 4096 to free up a little driver space.
Also, the DOS shell which runs RHABSIM must be set up to allow expanded memory. Use PIFEDIT.EXE in Windows 3.1 or right-click the RHABSIM icon in Win95-98 and set Memory Properties to allow automatic or 4096k of expanded memory.

Pricing and Ordering

The RHABSIM 3.0 full package is now free on request. Limited technical support (via phone and/or e-mail) is also provided at no additional cost. Hard copy manuals are available for $50 USD to cover the cost of printing and shipping.

For ordering or further information on RHABSIM, please call us at (707) 822-8478 or send an email to