Managing the Impacts of Human Activities on Fish Habitat: The Governance, Practices, and Science

Basin Scale Monitoring of River Restoration: Recommendations from Case Studies in the Pacific Northwest USA

Philip Roni, Tim Beechie, Chris Jordan, and George Pess


Abstract.—Monitoring of restoration at a basin rather than reach scale presents both scientific and organizational challenges. Using three case studies in the Pacific Northwest, we demonstrate the key factors and challenges that need to be considered when designing basin-scale evaluation of numerous restoration actions. These include linking reach and basin scale responses to restoration, identifying a core set of parameters to monitor at those different scales, and continuous coordinating of restoration, monitoring, and other fisheries management actions. Linking reach and basin level responses to restoration requires different methods of site selection, sampling design, and scale of measurement than typically used for reach-scale monitoring. In addition, parameters may not be appropriate for measurement at both scales. For example, parameters typically measured at a reach scale, such as fish abundance or pool frequency, may be examined at both a reach and basin scale while others, such as sediment supply, are more appropriately examined at basin level. Parameters that measure processes such as sediment supply or riparian condition respond slowly to restoration actions and require a long term monitoring (>10 years). A core set of parameters for basin scale monitoring of restoration should include: stream discharge and temperature, coarse and fine sediment supply, riparian species diversity and size, pool frequency, wood abundance, fish abundance, macroinvertebrates, and periphyton. Finally, failing to properly coordinate the timing, location, and implementation of restoration, monitoring, and other fisheries and land management activities can prevent the most well designed and costly monitoring program from detecting a restoration response.