Water Quality and Aquatic Communities - Streams
Importance / Issues
During the KLMN vital signs scoping process, water quality of the Network’s aquatic resources was identified as an important element of the overall health of the Network’s diverse ecosystems. Two of the ten most important Network-wide vital signs identified by this process were (1) water quality characteristics of surface waters, and (2) aquatic biota and communities.
The fundamental goal of this integrated protocol is to provide guidance for monitoring the status and trends of the water quality and aquatic communities of Klamath Network perennial, surficial freshwater ecosystems, specifically: (1) perennial, montane ponds and lakes (CRLA, LAVO), (2) perennial, montane wadeable cold-streams (CRLA, LAVO, WHIS), (3) perennial, coastal and Coast Range wadeable cold-streams (REDW), and (4) cave-associated wadeable cold-streams (ORCA).
Aquatic ecosystem health has consistently been the dominant theme during the identification of network-wide water quality issues. The ability to (1) document improvement (or lack thereof) in the water quality of Clean Water Act section 303(d) listed impaired streams, and (2) the ability of park managers to document progress toward achieving GPRA goal 1.a4 (i.e., that parks have unimpaired water quality), has underscored the importance of identifying a suite of measurement parameters useful for effective water quality assessment. The need to fully inventory aquatic resources and document baseline and reference water quality conditions also were identified as important objectives in the development of a vital signs-based long-term water quality monitoring program.
Crater Lake National Park
Protocol Development & Status for Streams
The temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, pH, alkalinity, cations, anions, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and dissolved organic carbon will be measured at all sites. Core parameters will be measured each sampling occasion (Dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, conductance, and turbidity), other parameters will be measured more infrequently (every 9 to 12 years).
Physical habitat characteristics to be measured include elevation, channel and riparian characteristics, substrate, embeddedness, instantaneous discharge, woody debris tally, channel constraint, riparian characteristics, stream-side invasive species, and assessment of debris torrents and major floods.
Biological community parameters to be measured include benthic macroinvertebrates, amphibians, fish, and periphyton biomass.
There are two Clean Water Act section 303(d) listed impaired sites that will be monitored as part of the monitoring plan: Redwood Creek (Redwood) and Willow Creek (Whiskeytown). Network sampling will add the above parameters to monitoring these sites to add to the temperature/sediment/silt monitoring of Redwood Creek, and heavy metal monitoring at Willow Creek.