USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station


Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

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Development of status and trend indicators for stream condition and other resources

Proposal [pdf]

Lead Researchers:

Andrew Stubblefield, Humboldt State University
Alison O'Dowd, Humboldt State University
Chad Praul, Environmental Incentives, LLC


Specific indicators have been identified that provide information to managers, policy-makers and the public regarding the status and trends of the Air, Land, People and Water of the Lake Tahoe Basin. In the recent Environmental Improvement Program (EIP) update document, key goals for 2008-2018 included refining and implementing monitoring and evaluation programs to assess the status of environmental conditions and determine the effectiveness of EIP restoration projects. Other key goals included improving data and information management to utilize web-based systems; develop and adopt standard operating procedures for seamless data analysis and public reporting. This research will support these key EIP goals by collecting, synthesizing and cataloguing existing data sets in order to further develop and report status and trend indicators. Development of benthic macro-invertebrate indicators of stream ecosystem health will be a major focus of this project. Methods used will include Multi-Metric Indices of Biologic Integrity and the River Invertebrate Prediction and Classification System (RIVPACS). Results will include an improved and more sensitive index that is able to discriminate levels of aquatic disturbance thus providing an indicator of condition status and trends and effectiveness of restoration projects. Other elements of the research will include assembling and summarizing data sets related to: human health - drinking water quality; upland and aquatic special status species; environmental air quality – atmospheric deposition, and Lake Tahoe's chemical and biological parameters.

Relation to Other Research Including SNPLMA Science Projects

This research defines incremental development and advancement of the existing Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Program, which is a partnership of agencies responsible for reporting the status and trend of ambient conditions. The partnership is led by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU), but includes executive representation from Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, Nevada Division of State Lands, and the California Tahoe Conservancy. An M&E working group is already operating and will be engaged at key times during the project; additional agencies in the basin will be invited to join this group. SNPLMA support has been used in development of a management system for the M&E Program through the Adaptive Management Framework (AMF) series of projects. The products of the AMF research include the M&E Program Manual which will guide development of many of the deliverables of this research. SNPLMA research funds have also supported a multitude of land management and research organizations to collect datasets which were analyzed for other needs. Many of these data sets will be leveraged as the central focus of one of the goals of this project. For example, data for Tahoe draba (Draba asterophora Payson var. asterophora) and Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis) will be summarized. The project team will review and integrate datasets that are consistent with the data quality standards used to collect information currently existing at TRPA.

Expected date of final products:

January 2013

Last Modified: Mar 28, 2013 02:52:08 PM