Building a Stream InterNet for Enhanced Stewardship of Aquatic Resources

Event Type: 
GNLCC Webinar
Date and Time: 
May 28, 2013 (All day)

Time: 11:00 am-12:00 pm Mountain Time / 10:00-11:00 am Pacific Time

Hosts: Pacific Northwest Climate Change Collaboration (C3) and Great Northern LCC

Presenter: Dan Isaak, Research Fisheries Scientist, Boise Aquatic Research Lab, Rocky Mountain Research Station, US Forest Service  

Description: Human population growth and anthropogenic climate change will have profound consequences for aquatic ecosystems this century. Effective resource stewardship will require unprecedented levels of interagency coordination and development of datasets and models capable of accurately portraying resource status in real-world coordinates. The revolution in digital and social media technologies, combined with crowd-sourced databases and new types of spatial statistical stream models make it possible to meet these challenges. Combination of these technologies is resulting in the emergence of a “stream internet” that connects, and empowers, people through massive amounts of accurate information that is developed collaboratively from cross disciplinary teams including scientists, resource managers, geospatial analysts, statisticians, web designers, and database engineers. 

To illustrate the possibilities that a stream internet holds, an example is provided based on the NorWeST (i.e., NorthWest Stream Temperature) project to develop a comprehensive interagency stream temperature database and model for all streams across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming (~350,000 stream kilometers). NorWeST is comprised of data contributed by hundreds of biologists and hydrologists working for more than 60 state, federal, tribal, and private resource agencies and probably constitutes the world’s largest stream temperature database (45,000,000 hourly temperature recordings at more than 15,000 unique stream sites). These data are used with spatial statistical stream models to develop accurate climate scenarios at 1 km resolution. More than 15,000 summers of data across 100,000 stream kilometers in Idaho and western Montana have so far been modeled with good accuracy (R2 = 90%; RMSE < 1 ˚C). When final temperature scenarios are developed for an individual river basin, they are posted as ArcMap geospatial products for download through the NorWeST website and notification is sent to local biologists and aquatic resource professionals. The accuracy of the stream temperature climate scenarios, their ease of use within a GIS environment, and development from data collected by those working within the local landscape translates to rapid adoption and use in decision making. NorWeST stream temperature data products are also providing the foundation for a variety of related projects that include:

  1. biological vulnerability assessments for sensitive species
  2. accurate definition of species’ thermal niches
  3. improved bioclimatic models
  4. development of formal decision support tools
  5. refinement of temperature and biological monitoring programs. Significant synergies occur among these projects because they are built on a regionally consistent stream data network and accurate spatial representations of important aquatic features at scales relevant to resource management.

Speaker Infomation: Dan’s research interests include understanding the effects of climate change on stream habitats and fish communities, stream temperature monitoring and modeling, spatiotemporal variation in the distribution and abundance of stream fishes relative to environmental gradients and disturbance, development and application of spatial statistical models for stream networks, and use of digital and social media to connect people, information, and landscapes. View Dan's publications and other information.

Visit the NorWeST website