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Effectiveness Monitoring Program


OWEB supports efforts for comprehensive monitoring and evaluation of restoration investments, which should include but not be limited to physical, chemical, and biological evaluation. A well-designed monitoring program will determine whether restoration actions were designed and implemented properly, determine whether the projects’ restoration objectives were met, and provide new information on the restoration action and the ecosystem functions and processes that it was intended to affect. In this process, information gained from effectiveness monitoring is an avenue to determine what restoration actions are working and where refinements to restoration actions may be needed. It is also important to define the different types of monitoring and specifically, for OWEB grant recipients, to distinguish between effectiveness monitoring and OWEB’s required post-project implementation status reporting.

Effectiveness Monitoring

Effectiveness Monitoring vs. Post-Project Status Reporting

Effectiveness monitoring can play a key role in demonstrating the accountability, success, and value of restoration investments. Effectiveness monitoring is NOT a specific requirement of any OWEB grant, and is monitoring above and beyond compliance monitoring.  Effectiveness monitoring is designed to determine if the project is effective at meeting its biological and ecological objectives.

Post-project implementation status reporting is a requirement of all OWEB restoration grants and includes 1) a brief description of the project and the work completed, 2) pre and post-project photographs, 3) lessons learned during the project, 4) recommendations on the implementation of future projects, 5) maintenance performed, and 6) accounting of expenditures.

Project-Level Effectiveness Monitoring

There is an important distinction between the questions “was the project implemented in the manner, time, and budget as proposed?” and “did the project achieve the larger objective it was designed to meet?”  The former question is addressed during post-project implementation status reporting  and the latter only through more in-depth effectiveness monitoring.

Project-scale effectiveness monitoring measures environmental parameters to ascertain whether restoration actions were effective in creating a desired change in habitat conditions.  There are at least three important reasons to conduct project-scale effectiveness monitoring on a restoration action or a change in management: 1) to determine the biotic and abiotic changes resulting on, and adjacent to, the treatment area, 2) to determine if treatment and restoration actions were effective in meeting the objective, and 3) to learn from the restoration actions and to incorporate new knowledge in future treatment design.

Effectiveness monitoring should follow established protocols, be statistically valid, generate quantifiable data, and produce results that, when tested, are repeatable.

Project-Level Effectiveness Monitoring Program Activities

Effectiveness Monitoring Programs, Webpages and Programs At-a-Glance

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) EffectivenessAt-a-Glance (PDF)

Fish Passage Improvement EffectivenessAt-a-Glance (PDF)

Irrigation Efficiency EffectivenessAt-a-Glance (PDF)

Juniper Removal EffectivenessAt-a-Glance (PDF)

Livestock Exclusion EffectivenessAt-a-Glance (PDF)

Riparian Planting EffectivenessAt-a-Glance (PDF)

Small Dam Removal EffectivenessAt-a-Glance (PDF)

Wetland Restoration EffectivenessAt-a-Glance (PDF)​

Tide Gate Restoration Literature Review​


Intensively Monitored Watersheds

Intensively Monitored Watersheds (IMWs), are intensive watershed-scale research and monitoring efforts. IMW's are designed to answer questions that typical project-level effectiveness monitoring cannot answer. Another way to view this distinction is that a project level effectiveness monitoring study might include a single restoration action implemented in several locations across the state.  But, an IMW would look at an entire suite of restoration actions at a larger watershed scale and attempt to determine how these combined restoration actions would affect physical and biological conditions.  These questions are often posed by policy makers, decision-makers, legislators, boards, and commissions in an effort to describe the relative success of programs.  This information is also used to inform future decisions about funding techniques, and strategies.

An IMW is an efficient method of achieving the level of sampling intensity necessary to determine the biological response to a set of management actions. Evaluating physical and biological responses is complicated, and requires an understanding of how various management and restoration actions interact to affect habitat conditions.  Untangling the various factors that determine biological responses and how these factors respond to land use actions or restoration efforts can only be accomplished with an intensive monitoring approach.

Typical questions that IMWs are designed to answer include the following:

  • Does the collective effect of restoration and/or management actions result in an improved watershed condition or population parameter of interest?
  • Why or why not?
  • What are the causes of those responses?
  • Are certain combinations of restoration and/or management actions more effective than others at delivering the intended responses?
  • Does the implementation sequence of restoration and/or management actions affect the attainment of the objectives?

OWEB has been working with the Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership (PNAMP), the Oregon Plan Monitoring Team, state and federal agencies, and local groups to establish the appropriate mix of IMWs in Oregon and throughout the northwest.

Upper Middle Fork John Day River IMW​​​