Most studies on riverine ground beetle assemblages last 1–2 years, and studies on carabids from lowland stream ecosystems are rare. In 1999, a 16-year study was launched to gain insight into the structure and diversity of carabid assemblages in a cross-section of four habitats located beside a 5 m wide stream: Meadow (wet meadow), Clumps (meadow scattered with birch and willow clumps farther from the river), Birch (birch stand), and Pine (pine stand located the farthest from the stream). The total number of 14, 216 individuals representing 118 carabid species were collected. Eleven functional carabid groups have been analysed. Principal response curve analysis showed significant differences existing during the whole study period among carabid assemblages from the four habitats. Generalised Linear Mixed Models analysis revealed a dependence of Chao2 estimator performance on temperature and ground water level, whereas life traits of carabids depended solely on the latter factor, affecting species composition (i.e., proportions of autumn and spring breeders, large and small zoophages, hemizoophages, forest, generalists and open area species, wingless species, hygrophilous, mesophilous and xerophilous species). The lower the ground water level, the higher was the proportion of late-successional species. Both Chao2 value and the proportion of late-successional species were growing with the increasing distance from the stream, peaking in the Pine habitat. Early-successional fauna dominated in streamside assemblages. IndVal analysis identified 1–9 characteristic species for each habitat type, mostly non-recurrent during the study period. Thus, species composition of riverine carabid assemblages should be studied for longer periods than 1–2 years to avoid accidental observations.