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Watershed health sampling schedules

We've scheduled watershed sampling in eight regions across the state to obtain a consistent, objective picture of biological, chemical, and habitat conditions and to track trends. The program is designed to answer questions about the overall condition of watersheds.

During 2018, we will collect samples at 50 streams and rivers in the Northeastern Washington region between July 1 and Oct. 15. We first sampled this region in 2012. 

We sample to identify trends

The success of much of our environmental work hinges upon the health of the watersheds that support the natural environment, communities, and the economy. We monitor watershed health by studying various indicators, including water quality, and biological, riparian, and landscape indicators. We follow strict measurement, quality control and data management, review, and validation procedures to gain an accurate picture of watershed health.

We rotate through eight Status and Trends Regions (STRs) for each sampling round. Crews try to sample 50 sites in each STR per round. Also, we sample 16 sentinel sites each year to detect trends. There are two of these per region.

This table details when and where sampling rounds have occurred or are scheduled to occur in the future.

Status and Trends Monitoring Regions Round 1 Round 2
Puget Sound 2009 2013
Coastal 2010 2014
Lower Columbia River 2010 2014
Mid Columbia 2011 2015
Snake River 2011 2016
Upper Columbia 2012 2017
Northeast Washington 2012 2018
Unlisted Washington 2010* 2019

* Nineteen random sites were sampled here in 2010.

Stream surveys in the Northeast Washington region during 2018 is a two-page focus sheet describing this year's sampling project.

Candidate sampling sites

The Washington Master Sample is a statistically selected list of sites that can be used for conducting unbiased surveys at various scales, including statewide, status and trends in regions, or by watershed. Each year, we evaluate the master sample within the next scheduled status and trends region. Using maps, we evaluate each site on the list and reject sites that do not fit sample-design criteria as described in the protocols. The remaining sites provide a set of candidate sites for further studies to be conducted by sampling crews.

Sites are only accessed with permission of the landowners.

Map of candidate sites for 2018 in Northeastern Washington

Click the double arrows (>>) in the upper left-hand corner for the map legend. See also Candidate Site data in a downloadable spreadsheet format.