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New report describes data collection protocols for continuous monitoring of temperature & flow in wadeable streams.


Just a quick bonus blog this time to highlight a significant new EPA report that describes protocols for establishing continuous temperature and flow monitoring stations in wadeable streams (report accessible here: It’s a topic I think about a lot at this time of year as my labmates & I wander around the northern Rockies downloading temperature data from our NoRRTN network (Blog #24). The lack of annual, long-term stream and river temperature data is something we’ve touched on in previous blogs (Blog #23); as is the lack of spatially dense flow monitoring networks (Blog #21). Those deficiencies are the largest single source of the uncertainties we currently have with regards to understanding the effects of climate, and climate change, on aquatic environments. The information contained in the new report makes it easier to begin addressing those deficiencies; and it won’t cost an arm and a leg because the current generation of miniature digital sensors are relatively inexpensive ($40 - $170 for a temperature sensor; $300 - $1,000 for a flow sensor). Coupled with recent advances in stream geostatistics and sampling design theory for data on networks, it’s now possible to design very efficient monitoring arrays that provide maximum information for the lowest cost (see Som & colleagues, study attached).

Even where the resources don’t exist to maintain big monitoring networks, getting even a few more stream people to commit to monitoring a site or two over a long period of time will prove to be very useful. Those individual datasets can later be aggregated across the aquatics army to add up to something pretty significant.Not only will those crowd-sourced databases contain the massive amounts of information we need for decision making, but the process of developing them builds and strengthens the human social networks that are needed to conserve aquatic biodiversity this century (Blog #25Blog #40).


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