Inventory and Monitoring of Salmon Habitat in the Pacific Northwest
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Inventory and Monitoring of Salmon Habitat in the Pacific Northwest

Category: Habitat - Research

Date Published: October 15, 2001

Number of Pages: 213

Author(s): David H. Johnson, Ned Pittman, Eva Wilder, Jill A. Silver, Robert W. Plotnikoff, Brad C. Mason, Kim K. Jones, Phil Roger, Thomas A. O’Neil, Charley Barrett

Directory and Synthesis of Protocols for Management/Research and Volunteers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia


This document reflects an effort to establish a consistent format for the collection of salmonid habitat data across the Pacific Northwest. More specifically, our objectives were to: 1) provide a synthesis of the salmon habitat protocols applicable to the Pacific Northwest, 2) recommend a subset of these protocols for use by volunteers and management/research personnel across the region, 3) link these protocols with specific types of habitat projects, 4) establish a Quality Assurance/Quality Control framework for the data derived from the use of these protocols, and 5) to the degree possible, identify the format and destination where the data is routinely sent.

To achieve these objectives, we assembled 112 documents drawn from the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere in North America, and developed a 1-2 page synthesis of each. These documents embody 429 protocols for collecting data on 48 protocol Focus Types (physical and biological habitat attributes) relevant to salmonids. We organized the protocols under four main habitat categories: 1) Freshwater (e.g., streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands), 2) Water Quality, 3) Riparian/Upland Habitat, and 4) Estuarine/Nearshore Marine.

Following a detailed review of the protocols, we used selection criteria combined with a scientific peer-review process to recommend a subset of protocols for use across the Pacific Northwest. Protocols were evaluated in terms of: 1) a review of the protocol elements; 2) the accessibility and practicability to workers with diverse training; 3) applicability across the different environments of the region, so that data and analysis are comparable; 4) listing of tools and implements needed; and 5) kinds of data generated. We were not able to assess implementation costs, as budgetary information was seldom included in the protocols. We ultimately identified 68 protocols for use by volunteers, and 93 protocols for use by management/research personnel across the Pacific Northwest.

The principal purpose of monitoring is to help make decisions by reducing uncertainty and track progress toward identified goals. With the concerted investments being placed in salmonid habitat, there is an increasing desire to monitor aspects of management-, restoration-, and mitigation-based projects. To gain the greatest benefit from the protocols recommended herein, users must first articulate a set of inventory or monitoring questions to be answered. Then, by linking these questions with the protocols herein, users will be better able to maximize their inventory and monitoring investments. To aid in this important effort, we have linked 77 habitat Project Types with the recommended protocols. Further, to ensure clarity, we have provided descriptions of the project types and focus types in the glossary.

The data collected through the protocols recommended in this publication will aid in providing a consistent foundation for plans to restore and protect the health and biological capacity of salmonbearing streams and nearshore marine areas in the Pacific Northwest. Likewise, the data will be an important basis for determining whether completed projects and related conservation actions are achieving their intended goals. To the extent possible, we have identified the type of format the data is stored in, as well as the agencies or entities that are the recipients and caretakers of this data. Local and regional data management is an area in urgent need of funding investments. Important advancements in data handling, accessibility, and analysis capability will stem from the overall efforts in monitoring in the region.

The geographic scope of this project includes the freshwater and nearshore marine areas of Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Idaho, and Montana. The protocols recommended herein will also find important applications in the salmon-bearing areas of California and Alaska, and in other salmon regions (e.g., Pacific Rim).

Suggested Citation:
Recommended Citation: Johnson, D. H., N. Pittman, E. Wilder, J. A. Silver, R. W. Plotnikoff, B. C. Mason, K. K. Jones, P. Roger, T. A. O’Neil, C. Barrett. 2001. Inventory and Monitoring of Salmon Habitat in the Pacific Northwest - Directory and Synthesis of Protocols for Management/Research and Volunteers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington. 212 pp.