IMW Work Continues on the Middle Fork

Published January 13th, 2017 in Blog, What's Happening? | Comments Off on IMW Work Continues on the Middle Fork

The winter is not a time to monitor the frigid mountain streams that make up the Middle Fork of the John Day River watershed, but work on the Intensively Monitored Watershed continues.  The North Fork John Day Watershed Council plays a key role in data collection and management for the IMW working group.  See below to learn more about the efforts made during the Fall of 2016.  Also be sure to check out the news section of the main IMW web page at:


Stream Temperature Monitoring

Temperature loggers remained in the streams until Mid-November, continuing to record water temperatures once every hour. Stream temperature is identified as a main limiting factor for improving anadromous fish habitat in most of the John Day River basin, including the area encompassed by the IMW study area.  The North Fork John Day Watershed Council is responsible for and deploys 40 HOBO temperature loggers on the Middle Fork and tributaries.  These loggers were deployed in April and remained in place until mid-November.  Of the 40 loggers deployed, four were not recovered but may be easier to find in the Spring. Data from all loggers was downloaded, organized, and made available for use by the group in December. The IMW partners participating in temperature data collection include the NFJDWC, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, ODFW, and The Nature Conservancy.

2016 Discharge Measurements

Streamflow Monitoring

NFJDWC staff wrapped up its seasonal discharge (flow) measurements that will be used to normalize logger data this winter. During the 2016 field season, flows were taken a total of seven times.  Discharge was measured with a Marsh-McBirney flow meter and a HACH FH 960 Flow meter that was recently acquired by the NFJDWC.  After stretching a tape across a pre-established cross-section of the stream, the channel is divided into 20-30 cells which are each measured for cross-section area and water velocity. That data are calculated to determine a total discharge volume of the stream at each site.  At this point, loggers from each of the 12 gauging stations have been collected, and the data has been downloaded.  These data have been used to create a curve that establishes an accurate representation of the stream discharge each hour of every day for the season in which loggers were in the stream.  Each gauging station is equipped with a staff gauge, an established cross-section, and a logger station, consisting of a PVC pipe mounted to a T-post such that the logger remains submerged throughout the season.

Collecting Benthic Macroinvertebrates

Macroinvertebrate Monitoring

As of this writing, the NFJDWC staff has collected, prepared, and sent all macroinvertebrate samples to the lab for processing.  Benthic samples were collected from the South Fork (5 sites) and the Middle Fork (10 sites). Drift samples were taken from the Middle fork at 14 locations.  Benthic samples are collected by placing a D-frame net on the streambed and cleaning a 1 foot square of substrate immediately in front of each net.  Dislodged invertebrates drift into the net and are collected. Samples are collect from 4 riffles at each site, traveling upstream. Drift samples are collected with specialized drift nets that are anchored into the stream channel with re-bar. Flow rates into each net are also recorded.  Resultant macroinvertebrate samples have been sent to labs which will perform analysis and report findings to the NFJDWC.  Benthic sample results were received by the NFJDWC in December, and are already available to the group.  Drift samples are expected in early February of 2017.

Data Management

The NFJDWC staff provided various maps and GIS information to requesting parties, as well as worked with the public on data requests and general outreach.  In early January, temperature logger data will be checked for errors and entered into the database.  NFJDWC will work in conjunction with ODFW to update and input temperature data into the Access database.  By working with The Freshwater Trust, the NFJDWC has saved valuable time and funds to develop rating curves for each of the 12 discharge sites.  These data are also available to the group at this time.

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