Climate change is altering temperatures and flows in stream ecosystems, which can affect the distribution, diversity, and abundance of biotic communities that are used as a basis for resource management. The lack of continuous temperature and flow data for minimally disturbed, unregulated freshwater wadeable streams is an impediment to analyses of long-term trends in biological, thermal, and hydrologic data. Recently, USEPA has been collaborating with east coast states to develop regional reference/climate change monitoring networks that can detect small, progressive changes in stream communities. States in the northeast (CT, ME, MA, NH, NY, RI, and VT) have begun monitoring macroinvertebrates; however, continuous monitoring of temperature (air and water) and hydrology have been limited thus far.
To help facilitate more uniform and effective collection of continuous temperature and water depth data, the US EPA and collaborators have developed a guidance document for sampling ungaged sites in wadeable streams. This document addresses equipment needs, installation, maintenance, stream discharge measurements, data retrieval, and data processing. In November 2014, we will hold a 1.5-day workshop for northeast state participants in the reference network and other interested stakeholders on continuous monitoring of stream temperature and flow.