Streams: Assessment and Monitoring

White Water field scientists conduct assessment and monitoring of streams and rivers to characterize conditions, determine concentrations of metals, nutrients, and organics, plan best management practices and restoration actions, and document recovery. We work with resource agencies, industry, municipalities, and landowners on these multidisciplinary projects. Our projects range from pristine headwater streams to highly polluted rivers.

Stream and river monitoring work includes characterizing the physical condition such as hydrology, morphology, flow, substrate, habitat, and riparian area.  We are skilled in collection of water quality samples for later analyses in the laboratory. Our water quality sampling skills include clean techniques for low-level metals. We assess stream biota by identifying aquatic insects and other small invertebrate animals, fish, freshwater mussels, aquatic plants, algae, and aquatic invasive species. Some of our long term projects have documented the impacts of nonpoint source pollution and then followed stream recovery after installation of best management practices.

Many technical skills and methods are applied in our stream monitoring efforts. We have specialized equipment and instruments to facilitate our work. Some field meters allow instantaneous measurement of parameters. Other equipment is deployed in the field and records water quality parameters at frequent intervals.  We frequently monitor streams that are challenging to access because of remote location, rugged terrain, or seasonal conditions (such deep snow, ice, and muddy roads).