We collected over 100,000 points of temperature data this spring, summer and fall measuring water quality in Fiddle, Deep and Foster Creeks as part of our stream restoration and direct seed programs funded by the Department of Ecology. The graph below is an example of the kind of information we gathered at one of the stream sites. It is a comparison of water (blue) and air (gray) temperatures from the end of June to late October 2018 with a red standard line set by Washington law for the maximum water temperature a salmonid can survive. We averaged 7 days of maximum temperatures to create these lines.
This graph tells us the stream was a little above the standard during August, typically the hottest month of the year, but the water remained much cooler than the air throughout the collection period. As our recently installed riparian plants grow, they will shade and cool the water. In a few years, this stream may stay cool even in August. In addition to temperature, we collected information about pH, clarity, specific conductivity, and dissolved oxygen. We compared our results to Washington State standards tailored for each kind of measurement so that we are better able to choose if and where to target future restoration sites. Our monitoring will document change in water quality over time as we incorporate riparian restoration projects and as farms in the watershed potentially convert from conventional tillage to direct seeding. We hope these changes will reduce wind and water soil erosion, shade the streams, and create habitat for fish and wildlife. Foster Creek is wrapping up the 2018 season, but we will be out again next year to continue tracking water quality. Check out our website for more results!