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Upper Middle Fork John Day River Intensively Monitored Watershed (IMW)
The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) in conjunction with tribal entities, state and federal agencies, and private organizations has embarked on an Intensively Monitored Watershed (IMW) in the Upper Middle Fork of the John Day River.  This IMW is aimed at determining what the combined effects of different types of restoration actions are to the physical and biological functions and processes on a watershed scale.  The idea of an IMW requires a large amount of coordination from the constituents that are completing restoration and subsequent monitoring of these actions. 

Project Summary

In 2007, discussions about forming the IMW study plan began and in 2008 data collection for this effectiveness monitoring at the watershed scale began.  Initial monitoring activities in the IMW were focused around Steelhead and Chinook salmon, stream temperature, riparian condition, and stream channel morphology.  In addition, socio-economic indicators were added in 2009.  The plan is to conduct this monitoring for at least 10 years to identify a clear trend in the watershed.  Results will be provided each year over the life of the project. 

Preliminary Outcomes
Early results from some of the monitoring activities has begun to stream in after only the second year of data collection.
  • In one study area, fiber-optic cable stream temperature monitoring showed that a section of water was almost one degree celsius cooler than anywhere else in the monitored area and was possibly associated with log placement activity.  This habitat response would provide a direct benefit to salmonids by providing a “cold-water refuge”.
  • Using socio-economic indicators to determine the benefit to the local community, it was found that 63% of the contract dollars spent on the IMW stayed in Grant County.
How will OWEB use this information:  
As this and more information are gathered from the continued efforts of the IMW, it should shed a new light on the physical and biological responses to restoration activities.  OWEB will then use this information to prioritize the frequency and distribution of restoration activities to protect and restore healthy watersheds.