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Watershed Assessments
Watershed Assessment Library
To access a list of available watershed assessments, click here.

What is "Watershed Assessment"?
A watershed assessment is a process for evaluating how well a watershed is working. This process includes steps for identifying issues, examining the history of the watershed, describing its features, and evaluating various resources within the watershed.
OWEB grantees conducting a watershed assessment follow the Oregon Watershed Assessment Manual.  The assessment outlined in this manual requires a lot of interaction between people interested in the watershed, so that means lots of meetings, right from the start. People who conduct the assessment get to "collect data" and develop maps. Even more interesting are the field trips to the watershed that will be required. The assessment will require help from resource specialists to plan surveys, interpret results, and analyze the information and data that has been collected. Finally, the assessment concludes with a report or record of the assessment, so the results can be put to good use.

Why Conduct a Watershed Assessment?
Most readers, by the time they pick up the Watershed Assessment Manual have a pretty good idea of the reasons for conducting watershed assessments. Of the many reasons and benefits we could name, a few stand out. Our overall reason is to find out where, within a given watershed, we need to restore natural processes or features related to fish habitat and water quality. Specifically, watershed assessments help us accomplish the following goals:
  • Identify features and processes important to fish habitat and water quality.
  • Determine how natural processes are influencing those resources.
  • Understand how human activities are affecting fish habitat and water quality.
  • Evaluate the cumulative effects of land management practices over time.
In other words, the assessment helps us determine which features and processes in the watershed are working well and which are not. An assessment can´t give us site-specific prescriptions for fixing problems, but it can, and should, tell us what we need to know to develop action plans and monitoring strategies for protecting and improving fish habitat and water quality.

OWEB Funded Watershed Assessments
The Oregon Watershed Enhancment Board funds watershed assessments through its competitive grant program.  Please visit the Grant Program page for general information on the grant program, and the Assessment Grants page for specific information and forms for assessment grants.

Oregon Watershed Assesment Manual
For guidance in performing a watershed assessment, download or order a copy of the Oregon Watershed Assessment Manual.