Surface air temperature variation is central to our understanding of climate and is a primary driver of a range or hydrologic and ecological processes. Climatic variation with terrain (“topoclimate”) can be quite large in regions of complex topography. The USFS has initiated an interagency effort to monitor surface air temperature variation in mountainous regions of the western US. Networks of inexpensive air temperature sensors have been deployed in forested areas across a range of topographic settings. This collaboration between the Rocky Mountain Research Station and USFS Region 1 fire management is funded for 3 years and will sample air temperatures at more than 2000 sites across the Northern Rockies.
This website provides information about: 1) the science behind eDNA sampling, 2) the recommended field protocol for eDNA sampling and the equipment loan program administered by the NGC, 3) a systematically-spaced sampling grid for all flowing waters of the U.S. in a downloadable format that includes unique database identifiers and geographic coordinates for all sampling sites, and 4) the results of eDNA sampling at those sites where project partners have agreed to share data.
The Fort Collins Biogeochemistry laboratory is a state of the art facility operated by the AWAE program. Equipped with cutting edge instrumentation and experienced staff members the biogeochem lab provides a wide range of analytical abilities for research pertaining to environmental chemistry. Instrumentation and analysis methods are continually updated to remain at the forefront of modern science and to meet on-going needs of biogeochemical research projects pertaining to water quality, soil productivity, forest disturbances, soil and aquatic restoration, climate change and long term monitoring studies.
The bull trout is an ESA-listed species with a historical range that encompasses many waters across the Northwest. Though once abundant, bull trout have declined in many locations and are at risk from a changing climate, nonnative species, and habitat degradation. Informed conservation planning relies on sound and precise information about the distribution of bull trout in thousands of streams, but gathering this information is a daunting and expensive task. To overcome this problem, we have coupled 1) a range-wide, spatially precise model that predicts the location of natal habitats of bull trout with 2) a sampling template for every 8-digit hydrologic unit in the historical range of bull trout, based on the probability of detecting bull trout presence using environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling. On this project page, you can find bull trout eDNA sampling information and supporting science, information on participating in the bull trout eDNA survey, bull trout eDNA sample site locations, and the status of the bull trout eDNA survey.
Populations of many cold-water species are likely to decline this century with global warming, but declines will vary spatially and some populations will persist even under extreme climate change scenarios. Especially cold habitats could provide important refugia from both future environmental change and invasions by non-native species that prefer warmer waters. The Climate Shield website hosts geospatial data and related information that describes specific locations of cold-water refuge streams for native Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout across the northwestern U.S. Forecasts about the locations of refugia could enable the protection of key watersheds, be used to rally support among multiple stakeholders, and provide a foundation for planning climate-smart conservation networks that improve the odds of preserving native trout populations through the 21st century.
Knowing how environments might influence the degree and location of hybridization between these species represents a potentially powerful tool for managers. To address that need, we modeled how hybridization between westslope cutthroat trout and rainbow trout is influenced by stream characteristics that favor each species. On the Cutthroat trout-rainbow trout hybridization website, we describe that model, and provide high-resolution digital maps in user-friendly formats of the predictions of different levels of hybridization across the native range of westslope cutthroat trout in the Northern Rocky Mountains, representing both current conditions and those associated with warmer stream temperatures. Our goal is to help decision-makers gauge the potential for hybridization between cutthroat trout and rainbow trout when considering management strategies for conserving cutthroat trout.
The primary purpose of this web site is to ensure that land managers have access to the most current science findings and tools relevant to management of aquatic systems in fire prone landscapes. The complex interaction of wildland fire and aquatic systems has been the subject of two workshops hosted by the Boise Aquatic Sciences Lab. Access archives from the first workshop (held in 2002) and the most recent meeting in 2009.
Information on several breeds of fish, their common names, their legal status, distribution, breeding, habitat, major river drainages, status, trends, threats, diet and grazing impacts on the specific species.
GRAIP is designed to help land managers learn about the impacts of road systems on erosion and sediment delivery to streams. As the name implies, GRAIP couples analytical tools with an inventory process to build an approach to roads analysis that can be locally calibrated in a repeatable fashion and with minimal effort. The full scope of GRAIP includes methods to inventory roads and analyze the inventory for surface erosion, gully risk, landslide risk and stream crossing failure risks. Methods to measure road surface erosion from sample sites are also included.
GRAIP_Lite uses the same principles as GRAIP to determine broad-scale road surface sediment risks over a much wider area very quickly, and is used as a tool to determine where the largest problems likely occur on a 6th code subwatershed scale. If you are looking for a more general prioritization tool that can be applied over a broader area without the cost for intensive field data, then GRAIP_Lite may be a good choice.
Integrating Forests, Fish, and Fire (IF3) is a Bayesian decision support model that uses information on forest vegetation, human alterations to terrestrial and aquatic habitat condition, and the potential for fire-related disturbance to predict post-fire population persistence for stream fish. The purpose of the model is to evaluate alternative vectors for maximizing the resilience to future fire activity of forest stands supporting sensitive stream fish, such as bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus).
The National Forest Climate Change Maps project was developed to meet the need of National Forest managers for information on projected climate changes at a scale relevant to decision making processes, including Forest Plans. The maps use state-of-the-art science and are available for every National Forest in the contiguous United States with relevant data coverage. Currently, the map sets include variables related to precipitation, air temperature, snow (including April 1 snow water equivalent (SWE), and snow residence time), and stream flow.
Forested and mountainous locations, such as national forests, tend to receive more precipitation than adjacent non-forested or low-lying areas. However the precise contributions of national forest lands to regional streamflow volumes is largely unknown. New modeling work illustrates the importance of water yield from National Forest System land to water quantity and quality through visual and textual presentations of each forest’s contributions to regional streamflow.
The NSI is a network of people, data, and analytical techniques that interact synergistically to create information about streams. The NSI is needed because accurate, high-resolution status and trend information does not exist for most biological and water quality attributes across the 5.5 million stream kilometers in the United States. Without that information, prioritization of limited resources for conservation and management proceeds inefficiently. In recent decades, however, 100s of natural resource agencies have invested millions of dollars to collect stream datasets that contain massive amounts of untapped information.
The NorWeST webpage hosts stream temperature data and geospatial map outputs from a regional temperature model for the Northwest U.S. The temperature database was compiled from hundreds of biologists and hydrologists working for dozens of resource agencies and contains more than 45,000,000 hourly temperature recordings at more than 15,000 unique stream sites. These temperature data are being used with spatial statistical stream network models to develop an accurate and consistent set of climate scenarios for all streams.
Sediment transport through mountain rivers forms and maintains aquatic habitat (through physical processes such as erosion, bank undercutting, sandbar formation, aggradation, gullying, and plugging) and has important implications for water resource infrastructure. However, sediment transport cannot be understood without also considering the hydrology and geomorphology of an aquatic ecosystem. Research explores: 1) how sediment yields are likely to respond to climate change and wildﬁre; 2) the potential consequences for aquatic habitat and water resource infrastructure; and 3) prospects for mitigating sediment yields in forest basins. Data, publications, and resources include Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming.
This NASA-sponsored project will test a variety of sensors and techniques used to collect and improve airborne and ground-based measurements to determine the snow-water equivalent (SWE), or the amount of water held in snow, over different terrains.
This web site provides resources to help those in the western U.S. organize temperature monitoring efforts, describes techniques for measuring stream temperatures, and describes several statistical models for predicting stream temperatures and thermally suitable fish habitats from temperature data. You will also find useful links to other stream temperature resources such as publications, videos, and presentations on topics relating to thermal regimes in streams. By accurately portraying and making available a comprehensive and updated set of stream temperature sites monitored by several agencies, we hope to facilitate data sharing and avoid redundancies as new monitoring sites are added to the regional network.
The purpose of the Spatial Tools for the Analysis of River Systems (STARS) toolset is to generate and format the data needed to fit spatial statistical models in R software. The STARS toolset makes use of the Landscape Network, a data structure used to efficiently navigate throughout a stream network. Specific tools have been included to 1) Pre-process the Landscape Network; 2) Calculate the hydrologic distances (with flow-direction preserved), the spatial additive function used to weight converging stream segments, and the covariates for all observed and prediction locations in the stream network; and 3) Export the topological, spatial, and attribute information in a format that can be efficiently stored, accessed, and analyzed in R. The site also houses GIS layers and sample data to get you started.
Fishes of the genus Cottus –the sculpins— have long been a challenge for fish managers and ichthyologists in the West. They share streams, rivers, and lakes with trout and salmon, and depend on the same kinds of habitats with relatively cold, clean water. Yet we don’t know how many kinds of sculpins there are. The morphological differences between species are so subtle that even experts are occasionally baffled. Thus, it seems likely that the biodiversity of sculpins in the West is underestimated and unappreciated. The last major attempt to understand this diversity was over a half-century ago. With your assistance, we would like to renew the efforts to characterize the sculpins of western North America.
The Valley Confinement Algorithm (VCA) is a GIS based program that uses NHDPlus data to delineate unconfined valley bottoms. This webpage provides access to the VCA ArcGIS Toolbox script and documentation describing the program. The site includes the ArcGIS 10.x toolbox script, as well as publications and presentations and the General Technical Report (GTR) describing the VCA.
FS WEPP is a set of interfaces designed to allow users to quickly evaluate erosion and sediment delivery potential from forest roads. The erosion rates and sediment delivery are predicted by the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model, using input values for forest conditions developed by scientists at the Rocky Mountain Research Station.
Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) are a threatened fish species with a highly fragmented distribution throughout the Pacific Northwest. Among the critical requirements for bull trout are a need for large, interconnected habitats of cold water. While the needs of bull trout for cold water and ongoing restoration actions are well known and being addressed, much uncertainty remains about the future security of bull trout and their habitats within the US due to environmental trends associated with climate change. The goal of this symposium is to provide an overview of bull trout, their relationship to climate, and to discus alternatives for modeling future habitat and population distributions.
Climate change is projected to alter the flow regimes of streams and rivers, with consequences for physical processes and aquatic organisms. To study these hydrologic changes, we have developed a database of flow metrics for streams in the western US (extent shown on the map to the left) under historical conditions and climate change scenarios. These are based on daily simulations of the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) macroscale hydrologic model produced by the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group. Trout Unlimited and the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station used these model outputs to calculate a set of summary flow metrics to describe key attributes of the flow regime for each stream segment in the 1:100,000 scale National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) in the western US, excluding larger rivers. Datasets are available for the historical period 1978-1997 and future scenarios associated with the A1B emissions scenario for the 2040s and 2080s, including (1) the ensemble mean of 10 global climate models (GCMs), (2) MIROC3.2, a GCM that projects a warmer and drier summers than the ensemble mean, and (3) PCM1, a model that projects cooler and wetter summers than the ensemble mean.