Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2014. Best practices for continuous monitoring of temperature and flow in wadeable streams. Global Change Research Program, National Center for Environmental Assessment, Washington, DC. EPA/600/R-13/170F


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. In recent years, there has been substantial interest in developing Regional Monitoring Networks with states and EPA Regional offices to detect long-term climate change–related impacts on aquatic communities in freshwater streams. Current participants, including states in the northeast, mid-Atlantic and southeast, are initiating collection of thermal, hydrologic and biological data from targeted sites in each state. To help further this effort, the U.S. EPA and collaborators have written a guidance document to facilitate more uniform and effective collection of continuous temperature and water depth data at ungaged sites in wadeable streams. This document addresses questions related to equipment needs, configuration, placement, installation techniques, data retrieval, and data processing. The collection of these data will further efforts to detect and track climate change–related impacts over the long term, further our understanding of how biological, thermal, and hydrologic conditions vary spatially and temporally and inter-relate to one another, and help inform state and federal agencies on how to attribute altered environmental conditions to climate change versus other stressors.