Watershed health — Upper Columbia update

We investigated the health of stream habitats in the Upper Columbia Status and Trends Region in 2012 and 2017. Based on these study years, the region showed a majority of good biological conditions, with the highest physical and chemical stressors relating to substrate and water chemistry.

Photo showing crew member walk along side large river.

Use the map to navigate our reports by Status and Trends Region.

Click the map to see other regional reports!

Regional summary

  • Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity (B-IBI) conditions were consistent in the Upper Columbia Region, with a majority of stream kilometers assessed classifies as being in good biological condition.
  • The most prevalent stressors for streams in the Upper Columbia Region were elevated sand/fine sediment, increased substrate embeddedness, and increased water temperatures.

Biological condition

Invertebrate biological condition of streams, as assessed with B-IBI scores, did not change significantly from 2012 to 2017 in the Upper Columbia Region. The proportion of stream kilometers assessed that were classified as being in good biological condition was high in both 2012 and 2017. There was a slight increase in 2017 in the proportion of stream kilometers classified as being in poor biological condition, yet the majority of stream kilometers in this region were in good biological condition.

Graph showing a majority of 'good' streams in both 2012 and 2017.

We used B-IBI ratings from 2012 and 2017 to obtain the percentage of stream kilometers in good, fair, or poor condition for the Upper Columbia Region. Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.

Significant physical and chemical stressors 

In the Upper Columbia Region, some of the most common stressors were those associated with stream substrate, such as elevated sand or fines, embeddedness, and lower bed stability. Elevated water temperatures, high nutrients, and elevated pH were also observed in this region.

To interact with this graph and learn more about these stressors, hold your mouse over each bar.

This interactive graph shows the percentage of stream kilometers assessed with poor physiochemical conditions in the Upper Columbia Region for 2012 and 2017. The x-axis represents the percentage of river extent in poor condition. Error bars show 95% confidence intervals.