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Klamath Network (KLMN)

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Stream Water Quality & Aquatic Community Monitoring

KLMN employee Eric Dinger sampling stream habitat
KLMN employee Eric Dinger sampling stream habitat

Monitoring Briefs

Monitoring Reports

Protocol and Standard Operating Procedures

For more information contact: Eric Dinger

Importance and 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
  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)
  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.
  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.

Parks Monitored

  • Crater Lake National Park (CLRA)
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park (LAVO)
  • Oregon Caves National Monument (ORCA)
  • Redwood National & State Parks (REDW)
  • Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (WHIS)


Monitoring Objectives

  1. Sample a suite of physical, chemical, and biological parameters that can be used to determine site-specific and ecosystem-level baseline water quality and aquatic community conditions of the freshwater systems being monitored.
  2. Develop and maintain a database and associated metadata for storing data derived from the measurement and analysis of physical, chemical, and biological parameters sampled for each monitored ecosystem.
  3. Analyze data using a suite of statistical tools useful for documenting the status and trends of the ecosystems being monitored; and based on this analysis identify for each ecosystem any possible site-specific and ecosystem-level deviance beyond natural variation in baseline conditions.
  4. Report the results of status and trend analysis annually and provide ongoing synthesis of annual reports no more than one year after the completion of each 3-year monitoring cycle.

Parameters to be Measured

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.

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster