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Aquatic Monitoring for Climate Change

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Fisheries Resources is collaborating with Refuges in Region 1 on a pilot project to design and implement a long-term aquatic monitoring program as an effective approach to evaluate impacts of climate change supportive of the Service’s Strategic Plan for Responding to Accelerating Climate Change. 

  • Stream discharge & temperature

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    Stream stage, and air and water temperature will be continuously recorded (15 and 30 minute intervals basis) with loggers according to EPA recommendations.  Stream discharge will be estimated using stage-discharge relationships. 


  • Water chemistry

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    Conductivity, dissolved oxygen, pH, and water temperature will be recorded from point measurements made with hand-held meters during each survey 



  • Physical habitat

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    Various habitat attributes (e.g., thalweg profile, substrate, channel and riparian characteristics) will be recorded relative to transects during each survey.


  • Aquatic vertebrates

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    Single-pass backpack electrofishing will be conducted throughout stream reaches to collect fish, amphibians, and aquatic reptiles during each survey.  (If encountered, crayfish will be preserved for identification in the lab to assess possible presence of invasive species.)  Because aquatic communities reflect the integration of prevailing physical and biotic conditions through time, indices derived from various assemblage attributes (e.g., species richness, species relative abundance, species origin—native versus introduced, ecological and physiological traits of select taxa) will be calculated to characterize condition of the aquatic vertebrate community.


Page Photo Credits — Staff gauge in Muddy Creek at WL Finley NWR. © Sam Lohr, USFWS, Temperature logger in Bridge Creek at Malheur NWR. © Sam Lohr, USFWS, Measuring stream discharge, Myrtle Creek Kootenai NWR. © Sam Lohr, USFWS
Last Updated: Aug 11, 2015
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