Vegetation and Shade Monitoring at Watershed Enhancement Sites

Stillwater Sciences was contracted by Clean Water Services (District), a water resources management utility in the Tualatin River Basin, to conduct vegetation, shade, and streamside monitoring for enhancement projects. The District encompasses twelve cities and owns and operates four wastewater treatment facilities. The wastewater treatment facilities and the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) are permitted by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) under the District’s watershed-based National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Enhancements such as the installation and maintenance of native plants were conducted for compliance under the NPDES permit for thermal load limits and for a water quality credit trading program for temperature that offsets thermal loads.

Data are collected each summer at over 2,000 randomly generated sample plots at over a 100 sites throughout Washington County. Using handheld, GPS-enabled iPad units, field crews identify all plant species, count trees and shrubs, determine percent cover of all vegetation, record canopy cover data, take photographs at designated photo monitoring points, gather streamside data (channel incision, near stream disturbance zone, and wetted widths), and provide feedback and recommendations to improve the monitoring program. 

Stillwater staff have led and implemented the field efforts for this monitoring effort for ten years enabling field crews to become highly familiar with the protocol, sampling sites and landowners, as well as the plant species present at the sites. This level of continuity creates proficiency and efficiency within the team making this project a success year after year.



Project Lead(s)

Patrick Hendrix
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Work Products

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Wetlands along Rock Creek at a vegetation monitoring site.

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