Recreational boating represents a major human use of inland waters in many regions. However, boating tourism may affect the ecological integrity of surface waters in multiple ways. In particular, surface waves produced by boating may disturb freshwater invertebrates, such as interrupting the filtration activity of benthic mussels. As mussels may significantly contribute to self-purification, disturbance may have crucial impacts on water quality, and thus on water tourism. In this paper we calculate the carrying capacity of a river section for sustainable boating tourism based on the preservation of water quality. This approach is complemented by spatial and social approaches for carrying capacity estimates. The ecological carrying capacity significantly decreases with lower water levels during summer. Hence, the analysis of variables that influence the river's carrying capacity allows the formation of recommendations for management measures that integrate social, touristic and ecological aspects.

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