Resource Management

Stream Inventory and Data Analysis

Stream Inventory and Data Analysis

The Pacific Northwest Region has developed this site to assist people who work with aquatic and riparian data from stream surveys. The Region has surveyed thousands of miles of streams in Oregon and Washington.

Beautiful Stream

This website serves to provide examples of stream survey data formats, show specific uses for data and provide tools for the analysis and display of stream survey information. Many innovative methods have been developed by people to display and interpret this data for reports, assessments, watershed analysis, environmental analysis (NEPA), consultation under the Endangered Species Act and other purposes. 

This site also provides information on training workshops designed to supplement and strengthen the technical skills of people working in fisheries and hydrology.

The Pacific Northwest Region is now fully engaged in using the National Resources Information System (NRIS) Aquatic Survey (AqS) database to house the Level II Stream Inventory data.  This database is based in ArcMap so all stream reaches are now spatially located. Region 6 has developed a suite of queries in AqS to assist forests in data analysis.  Training guides for data entry and how to run the queries are available.

Please select from the following (may not be linked):

  • For information and examples on using Stream Survey Data please click on "Application".
  • For information and examples about GIS Tools for Spatially Locating Stream Survey Data, please click on "GIS Tools".
  • For information and examples about SMART Data Outputs please click on "SMART".

Stream Inventory Handbooks - PDF format (1989 through 2012)

Region 6 Stream Habitat Inventory Quality Assurance / Quality Control Manual - Draft Update May 2012 (750kb)



Information and Examples on Applying Stream Survey Data

(unlined) Downloads

Stream survey summary data can be used to query the range of habitat conditions by stream reach. These habitat conditions vary considerably between streams; stream differences relate to past and current management activities, geology, elevation, aspect, climate and numerous other variables influencing watersheds, stream channels and floodplains. 

Stream survey data in comparable watersheds and stream valleys can be used to develop benchmarks or ranges of conditions anticipated in reference streams. This is useful for contrasting current conditions with reference conditions. This can aid in determining dominant processes operating in the watershed and assist with development of restoration strategies that address the present gaps between historic and current conditions in watersheds.  Click the filename to view, and use your browser's back button to return hereThese files may also be downloaded for your use--click here (unlink).

Three matrices used for project consultation for listed fish species and critical habitat in three separate geologic provinces in SW Oregon are included here as: 

These matrices are used for the Klamath/Siskiyou Geology, High Cascades Geology and Tyee Sandstone Geology respectively. Steam and riparian habitat attributes that can be ascertained from the stream survey data are marked in yellow highlight in each file. These matrices were developed locally and are used by biologists and hydrologists in the three major geologic areas of Southwest Oregon. 

ODFW Benchmark is a set of Benchmark Values created by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to assess the condition of streams using stream survey attributes. 

Sucker Water Quality Plan is an example of stream survey data used to assess the condition of a stream in a Water Quality Management Plan. Sucker Creek and Grayback Creek are listed under the Clean Water Act -303(d) for habitat modification. Benchmarks were established based on Forest data and the ODFW benchmarks for Western Oregon with some adaptations noted.


Bar graphs created in PowerPoint are a good way to display stream survey data at the reach scale. Wood Pools Summary (unlinked) contains five vertical bar graphs that summarize attributes collected from stream surveys by reach: small, medium and large wood per mile, pool area by reach, pools per mile by reach and the frequency of pools using bankfull channel widths to normalize for stream size. These types of graphs can be used to develop numeric ranges for stream reaches. Stratifying by management intensity, watershed size, geology, elevation and other attributes can be useful for developing a natural range of variability for instream wood, pool frequency, percent pool area, riparian seral stage, width depth ratios and other attributes collected in stream surveys.

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Query for Pool Frequency and Large Wood 
in Low Gradient Stream Reaches

The file entitled Pool Wood Sort (unlinked) is an example of a specific query in SMART. Survey data from before 1996 was queried to summarize and compare characteristics of stream reaches with gradients equal to or less than 3%. These lower gradient stream reaches were found to be more depositional in nature, were less confined, usually contained salmon, coho salmon are listed under ESA, and were pool/riffle morphology. Pool frequency, substrate, valley confinement and large wood were among the attributes displayed by reach.

Fish Census Spreadsheets

Stream surveys can be used to collect general juvenile fish numbers and SMART is adaptable to storing the information. On many Forests, force account crews or contractors are required to do single pass snorkel counts in each nth unit or at more frequent intervals. The "D" Fish Form can be adapted to tally not only the numbers of fish by species (also amphibians and reptiles) and also the relative age of these fish. This information is tallied on the D Form as text characters. The file Sugar_Fish.lst (unlinked) is directly exported from SMART by doing a query. This is an ASCII file with question marks (?) delimiting the characters. The NSO, habitat type, species of fish and the count by age class is shown. Typical age class lengths can be developed for each stream to determine the size differences between young-of-the-year, age one and age two and older fish. This is documented in the comments section of the stream survey, so follow-up fish census work is consistent in the method of segregating fish by age and species.

Sugarpine Fish shows the ASCII file imported into MS-Excel and columns placed to separate the delimited file. 

Sugarpine coho counts summary is an example of how one can take similar information over several years and develop graphs showing juvenile fish density trends. In this case, coho juveniles in pools were counted in two sub-watersheds were used over a three-year period to show the relationship between juvenile coho salmon densities in pools in two sub-watersheds (Bitterlick and Sugarpine Creeks) and the total escapement of adult coho salmon into the watershed (Elk Creek) through a trap and haul facility near the mouth.


Downloads (unlinked)

(Right click and choose "Save Target As" or "Save Link As" and browse to a location on your computer to place the file)

GIS Tools --For Spatially Locating Stream Survey Data


This section of the FHR Website, Data Analysis, serves as an introduction to the GIS tools available to use with stream survey data.  ArcView techniques that are useful to display and query stream survey information are illustrated.  Aquatic information will be stored in NRIS Water in the near future.  Legacy stream survey data will be migrated to NRIS Water after data cleanup and spatial location of stream survey reaches in GIS.  As an intermediary step, procedures to create event tables and locate stream reaches and monitoring points along stream routes will be displayed here.

To get started with your own Forest or District stream survey data, you will need a routed stream coverage and some stream survey data in a spreadsheet.  Start with a smaller data set parsed from a stream survey and attempt to place it in ArcView as an event table.  The Pacific Northwest Region incorporates these ArcView techniques into the Data Interpretation module.  NRIS Water will use similar ArcView files to link stream reaches/points along a stream route with data in data tables.  To flex the capabilities of this spatially-located stream survey data the techniques and examples shown here will be useful.


(Right click and choose "Save Target As" or "Save Link As" and browse to a location on your computer to place the file)


SMART Summary and Output Files - Examples


Two stream summary tables are included here to illustrate differences between the 1989 to 1995 stream survey data and the 1996 to Present stream survey data.  Click the filename to view, and use your browser's back button to return hereThese files may also be downloaded for your use--click here.

SMART Summary 89-95 is an example of a pre-1996 survey summary table using 95 Indigo Creek data.

SMART Summary 96-Present is an example of summary tables from 1996 to present using 97 Grayback Creek data. The summary tables shown represent outputs available from SMART entitled "All Statistical Reports". The examples here were placed in a single MS-Word document for each stream. These represent the tables most often used for data analysis work. All Statistical Reports Output summarizes the files available from the two formats: 1989 to 1995 and 1996 to Present.

The C_Form file, an ASCII file of field information collected during the stream survey, is also shown. An example of this ASCII file, shown as C_Dump Example, (Caution! very large .html file and slow to load) includes the data collected in Reach 1 of each of the same streams shown in the summary table examples: 95 Indigo and 97 Grayback. 

These raw data files are useful for generating other summaries of survey information, GIS mapping of individual habitat units and checking against field form data for quality control. The file EXCEL Template is included in this file as the first three rows of the spreadsheet, used to label data fields in the spreadsheet.


(Right click and choose "Save Target As" or "Save Link As" and browse to a location on your computer to place the file)