NorWeST Stream Temperature

Website

http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/boise/AWAE/projects/NorWeST.html

Purpose

To compile and distribute stream temperature data and high-resolution climate scenarios in user-friendly geospatial formats for all streams in the Northwest U.S.

Output

Two main products are available: 1) stream temperature data summaries available as Excel spreadsheets, along with maps of temperature data collection sites and 2) modeled stream temperatures for historic and future scenarios, available on the website or as downloadable shapefiles for use in ArcMap. Users can also view the accuracy of the temperature model results.

Developed by

Led by USFS scientists at the Rocky Mountain Research Station with collaborators from CSIRO, Trout Unlimited, NOAA, and USGS. Over 70 state, federal, tribal, and private organizations contributed data to the effort.

Format

Online database, geospatial data layers, and publications

Geography

Northwestern U.S. (ID, MT, WY, OR, WA), FS Regions 1,2,4 and 6.

Scale (range)

Individual stream to regional. Stream temperature climate scenarios are developed at 1-km resolutions and temperature information may be aggregated to higher levels.

Training Requirement

1 (on a scale of 1-3). Minimal time investment, < 2 hours

Status

Stream temperature data and climate scenarios are currently available for most of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Montana and Wyoming streams will be completed in 2015.

Potential Applications

Facilitating better climate vulnerability assessments for aquatic species, enabling coordinated management planning and monitoring efforts, improving the description of habitat quality for aquatic species, stimulating new stream research, communicating with the public about climate effects on stream habitat and fish species.

Caveats, Restrictions

Information on assumptions and procedures are available on the NorWeST website, including geospatial metadata, data processing procedures, and modeling procedures for climate scenarios. Metadata for basic stream temperature datasets are not available online.

Overview & Applicability

Significant amounts of stream temperature data have been collected during the last two decades, but strategic coordination of these collection efforts within and among agencies has been lacking. The NorWeST project has aggregated steam temperature data from the Northwestern U.S. into a publicly available database and also uses the data to develop stream temperature models. The models are used to create a consistent set of historic and future temperature scenarios for all 500,000 stream kilometers across the project area (ID, MT, WY, OR, WA).

Temperature data and modeled climate scenarios have been developed for most streams in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Stream temperature data organization and model development will be ongoing for Montana and Wyoming through 2015. Regular project timeline updates are posted to the NorWeST website, along with a map showing data processing status. At project completion, consistent sets of stream temperature-climate scenarios will exist for 52 national forests.

A primary goal of this project is to provide an accurate assessment and description of historical and future stream temperatures and thermal habitat distributions for sensitive aquatic species. This could enable planning and monitoring efforts to be undertaken more efficiently and with greater confidence across the Northwest U.S.

Stream Temperatures: NorWeST can help visualize how stream temperatures have changed over time, as in this stream temperature scenario mapStream Temperatures: NorWeST can help visualize how stream temperatures have changed over time, as in this stream temperature scenario map

History

This project was funded by the Great Northern and North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and involved development of an integrated regional database compiled from more than 70 resource agencies and consisting of  >45,000,000 hourly temperature recordings at >15,000 unique stream sites. The effort was led by USFS scientists at the Rocky Mountain Research Station Boise Aquatics Lab with collaborators from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Trout Unlimited, NOAA, and USGS.

Inputs and outputs

Input

Users only need to know the geographic locations where they require data. NorWeST data processing units typically consist of one or more USGS HUC3s (6-digit HUCs). See more on HUCs.
 
Output

Two main outputs are available:

  1. Stream temperature data summaries. These are available as downloadable Excel spreadsheets. Information on the locations of the stream temperature measurements are also available through online maps and downloadable geospatial data.
  2. Modeled stream temperatures for historic and future climate scenarios for all streams in the completed river basins. These are available as online maps and as downloadable shapefiles for display in ArcMap. For each climate scenario, users can also see information on the accuracy of temperature model results.

Restrictions and limitations

Information on assumptions and procedures are available on the NorWeST website, including  geospatial metadata, data processing procedures, and modeling procedures for climate scenarios. Metadata for basic stream temperature datasets are not available online.

Accessing the tool and additional information

Relevant publications include

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