Effective management of aquatic ecosystems relies on accurate information about species diversity and abundance. But, the surveys necessary to gather critical information on riparian biodiversity are usually time-consuming and costly, requiring significant coordination across disciplines, managers, and ownerships. Scientists at the USDA Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station are working to develop a new method that can be used to survey aquatic biodiversity: multi-species environmental DNA, or eDNA. Known as the blueprint of life, DNA can be found in the air, water, and soil of a riparian area, anywhere there are shed cells of organisms living in and around a stream. In just a single sample of stream water, multi-species eDNA analysis can detect the diverse community of organisms that rely on that stream, everything from single-cell pathogens to large animals. The scientists tested the efficacy of this new approach in Fall Creek, Oregon, comparing eDNA results with traditional electrofishing survey methods. The eDNA method detected more than 800 different organisms, including all 13 species observed during electrofishing surveys. The scientists are expanding the pilot studies of this method to other streams in Oregon, Washington, and California to continue assessing its potential as a powerful alternative to traditional riparian monitoring.