Innovative Approaches to Ecological Drought: Developing a Stream Temperature Handbook

    Principal Investigator

  • Joseph Casola, University of Washington, Climate Impacts Group,
In Progress

Due to the ecological importance of stream temperature for aquatic species, and concern about rising temperatures associated with climate change, natural resource managers throughout the Pacific Northwest increasingly require locally detailed stream temperature information in order to effectively manage aquatic resources. Recent technological advances in stream temperature monitoring (e.g., digital data loggers and remote sensors) and modeling have increased the amount of data that are available (both observed and projected) throughout the region. These newly available data, although exciting, have strengths and limitations depending on the purposes for which they were developed and the scale(s) at which they can be used to address management questions. For instance, a spatially expansive stream temperature dataset may be perfect for answering questions about how species distributions may change, but it may not be very good for identifying localized cold water refuges. Future projections made using statistical models may not be accurate if extrapolated to conditions not seen historically, or if applied in new areas. To address these challenges, we propose to develop a handbook for natural resource managers that will guide the selection and use of stream temperature dataset(s) that are appropriate for answering management or conservation questions. We will engage with natural resource stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest to learn about pertinent management issues, stream temperature data already in use, and information gaps. Through close collaboration with these stakeholders, we will then develop the handbook to (1) summarize benefits and tradeoffs of existing observed and projected stream temperature datasets, (2) support decisions about which datasets are most appropriate for a given management question using decision trees, and (3) provide case study examples to illustrate potential applications of the handbook.

Data and Products