Assessing the Status and Condition of Watersheds
A primary concern in assessment is "taking the pulse" of watersheds to determine where salmon ecosystems are in good condition. "Good" condition varies based upon a number of factors: scale, region, extent, and question of interest. Assessing the condition of salmon ecosystems requires explicitly stating the conservation target, determining a set of indicators and developing a framework or decision support model for assessing the condition of indicators. The Wild Salmon Center has developed methods for assessing the status of watersheds based upon a series of indicators. We have also developed methods that assess the status of populations across the Pacific Northwest.
Assessing watershed condition can be complimentary to assessing the status of populations. The health of a salmon population is often a good indicator of the status of that population. Assessing key indicators of watershed condition provides important information on limiting factors and possible causes for poor or good population condition.
The case studies presented here focus on measuring landscape scale indicators of watershed and salmon ecosystem condition. In the Oregon North Coast, WSC worked collaboratively with multiple agencies and NGOs to develop indicators of watershed health. A decision support model (DSM) was developed to assess several levels of watershed function. In the Russian Far East, we worked with Russian Federal Fisheries scientists to develop indicators for watershed condition. A watershed condition index was developed to help prioritize protected area designation.
- Trout Unlimited Conservation Success Index
- US Forest Service Aquatic and Riparian Effectiveness Monitoring Program