Evaluating progress in watershed restoration
Long-term watershed monitoring is critical to our restoration programs because it provides an understanding of restoration needs, trends, and the effectiveness of restoration projects. Over time, this information is important for guiding our strategic priorities, reporting on successes and failures, and tracking changes on the landscape that affect the health of local rivers.
For the past decade, we have worked closely with a network of technical advisors to implement monitoring projects focused on specific areas where key questions need to be answered.
Monitoring projects are designed around key indicators of watershed health, such as water quality (e.g., temperature, pH, etc.), stream flow, fish passage, fish habitat, and aquatic insects (macroinvertebrates).
Overall, we use monitoring to:
- Analyze the status of local rivers and streams;
- Track changes over time;
- Evaluate the effectiveness of restoration projects;
- Identify emerging issues that may affect local fish and wildlife; and
- Inform the community about important issues.
Our work in the Middle Deschutes River is focused on understanding how summer streamflow restoration improves water quality and the health of resident fish populations.
Monitoring in Whychus Creek allows UDWC to evaluate the effects of restoration by tracking long-term changes in physical and biological indicators such as temperature and macroinvertebrates.
Water quality monitoring over the past decade has helped us develop a robust understanding of how our streams are functioning and what restoration needs exist.