Environmental monitoring is the systematic collection of information used to assess the current condition and trend of environmental or performance indicators. Monitoring can be as simple as returning to a restoration site to be sure a culvert is still functioning properly; or, it can be as complex as assessing multiple parameters in a watershed to determine how overall watershed processes and functions change over time.
Environmental monitoring can be broken into multiple categories: baseline, implementation, status and trend, effectiveness, and validation monitoring.
This type of monitoring characterizes current conditions as a "baseline" to compare against as future monitoring is conducted. Baseline monitoring is often used as a first step in determining the effectiveness of restoration project implementation.
Implementation Monitoring (OWEB’s Post-project Implementation Status Reporting)
This category includes monitoring individual projects such as a culvert replacement or large wood placement. Its purpose is to ensure work that was proposed was actually completed successfully. Methodologies that might be used for this type of monitoring include photo-points and GPS latitude/longitude readings.
Status and Trend Monitoring
The purpose of this monitoring is to determine the condition of physical, chemical, or biological attributes across a given area and then evaluate over time how those conditions change. The spatial scale for status and trend monitoring is often large and can vary from a single watershed to the entire Pacific Northwest (PNW).
Sometimes referred to as action effectiveness monitoring, this monitoring is designed to evaluate the results most often associated with the implementation of watershed restoration projects. This differs from implementation monitoring in that it is more in-depth and evaluates whether the overall project objectives have been met. Effectiveness monitoring can occur at project, watershed, or large regional scales. More
Validation monitoring is often considered research. It is designed to validate assumptions, models, methods, proposals, etc. OWEB does not conduct validation monitoring very often.