Beginning Basinwide Surveys: Habitat Typing

Beginning Basinwide Surveys: Habitat Typing

We’ve begun our Basinwide Systematic surveys at Point Reyes! These surveys are completed every summer to monitor the conditions of the creeks that host juvenile Coho salmon and steelhead trout, both of which can be identified under the blanket term ‘salmonids’. This is carried out on three creeks: Olema creek and Pine Gulch in Point Reyes, and Redwood creek in Muir Woods, a nearby national park. These surveys focus on the quality of the creeks as salmonid habitat as well as population monitoring on these salmonids or any other species present in the creek. 


Habitat typing in progress! Here I am measuring the width of the creek usisng a stadia rod.

Basinwide Systematic Surveys are a three-step process, beginning with habitat typing. Habitat typing involves going through each creek and dividing it into small “units.” These units are created based on variables such as the depth and flow rate of that section, and classified according to these variables. For example, deeper units are classified as “pools,” and can be scour, mid channel, or plunge pools based on their composition. Once the unit is distinguished and classified, various measurements are recorded such as length, width, and max depth. The last thing recorded about each unit is the amount of woody debris within them. This count is important because this debris provides habitat for juvenile salmonids. Repeating this process yearly allows us to monitor the conditions and the quality of the creek as salmonid habitat over time.

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