Sustain Our Nation's Forests and Grasslands

Swimming in data


NorWeST Stream Temperature Regional Database and Modeled Stream Temperatures homepage

COLORADO — A recent publication in the journal Water Resources Research highlights the success of the NorWeST stream temperature database, a 6 year effort by the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Boise Aquatic Sciences Lab and hundreds of agency partners across the western United States. When the project began in 2011, the goal was simple: get everyone’s data organized in a comprehensive database to facilitate data sharing between agencies, decrease redundancy of monitoring efforts, and enable new research on thermal ecology and stream temperature dynamics that would facilitate better conservation and management. That goal and the associated benefits seem to have been achieved, as evidenced by the user-community that has grown around NorWeST and the large amount of traffic through the website, which receives around 12,000 annual visits and services the downloads of hundreds of digital data products each year.

NorWeST is just the beginning. A second database of Aquatic environmental DNA samples (eDNAtlas) is set to launch in early 2018.  Sampling for eDNA has rapidly transformed our ability to describe and monitor biological communities. Adoption of this technology is occurring broadly across many natural resource organizations and now results in samples collected at thousands of sites each year. Using the same crowd-sourced open-access model that made NorWeST successful, eDNAtlas will maximize data sharing among organizations, encompassing all species throughout the approximately 400,000 kilometers of perennial rivers and streams in 12 western states. The website and database will launch with approximately 10,000 samples, with semi-annual updates to include newly processed samples from those willing to share their data. You can find the preliminary details, here.

Click here to read the full article, “The NorWeST Summer Stream Temperature Model and Scenarios for the Western U.S.: A Crowd-sourced Database and New Geospatial Tools Foster a User Community and Predict Broad Climate Warming of Rivers and Streams.”