Healthy Urban Streams


Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 10:57:46 -0400
From: John Murphy
Subject: [volmonitor] Healthy urban streams?

Dear Colleagues-

StreamWatch, working in Central Virginia and using a famil-level benthic IBI, has developed a region-specific population density/stream health model that predicts “very poor” benthic health for streams draining urban catchments (urban = population > 1,000 per square mile). At a recent presentation to local decision-makers, our City Manager mentioned some “urban” streams he knew of that supported trout populations (Boulder, CO and Durango, CO), and wondered why these cities had “healthy” streams while our city does not. We didn’t have time to discuss all the potential differences between cases, (fish versus bugs, cold water versus warm water, population density of the entire catchment versus proximate density, etc.), but his question does prompt me to ask if any of y’all are aware of any truly urban* streams that support healthy** benthic communities.

*urban = > 1,000 humans/sq mile throughout entire watershed draining to sample site
**healthy = supports state’s aquatic life standard, measured by benthic samples

Any info would be apprecitated.

John Murphy, Director
office: (434) 923-8642
cell: (434) 242-1145


Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 10:44:59 -0500
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Healthy urban streams?

Hi John
I know of a program here in the Minneapolis metropolitan area that monitors the Vermillion River in the SW metro county of Dakota. The Vermillion is managed for trout and volunteers routinely find some of the best macroinvertebrates for the 7 county metro area (also id’d to Family level). I can’t be certain if it qualifies for your definition of “urban” but I thought I’d pass along the info. Laura Jester as the Dakota Soil and Water Conservation District would be the person to contact for more information.

Mary Karius
Hennepin County Environmental Services


Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 17:49:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Healthy urban streams?

Hi, John,

Here in the East Bay area of San Francisco, we have at least a couple of streams that meet your definition of urban and have healthy rainbow-trout populations  — Codornices and Sausal Creeks. You can find out more about them with a web search on those names, or on Friends of Five Creeks (my group, or Friends of Sausal Creek ( There is some recent BMI and other monitoring information for Codornices on the website of Urban Creeks Council, California does not have a single standard for benthic macroinvertebrates. The BMI data above and other findings on similar streams (e.g. in Contra Costa, the next county north), indicate fairly low diversity and dominance by pollution-tolerant taxa. The creeks mentioned, as well as other local creeks with rainbow trout/steelhead or even salmon (but which don’t quite meet your definition of fully urban), receive significant amounts of chloraminated water from gardens and from main breaks (a common occurrence in our geologically active area). They also receive the usual residential runoff, including the occasional hosing of concrete waste or soap into storm drains, etc. Thus, it seems to me that there is nothing about urban runoff that intrinsically makes it impossible to have water quality good enough for healthy fish populations.

Susan Schwartz
Friends of Five Creeks


Date: Tue, 01 May 2007 16:59:01 -0400 (EDT)
From: Michael Schenk
Subject: Re:[volmonitor] Healthy urban streams?

There is a small unnamed stream whose watershed lies completely within Baltimore City which supports a diverse benthic macroinvertebrate community, including stoneflies.  The watershed of this stream is almost entirely forested by wild parkland, although it is surrounded by dense urban development.  The stream is intermittent and periodic.

Michael Schenk


Date: Thu, 03 May 2007 07:36:02 +1200
From: Phil
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Healthy urban streams?
Yes, I have seen some healthy urban streams…

There is a stream in central Auckland (New Zealand) that supports very high densities of galaxid fish (very sensitive to water quality) and diverse benthic invertebrates.   The catchment is high density
residential but the surrounding riparian veg is dense native bush (it’s a park through the area).   Most of the streams in Auckland are pretty sad…

Christchurch is repairing their streams by re-establishing healthy riparian communities and naturalising the stream structure.  The benthic communities appear to be responding.

I personally think refuge areas are extremely important.  Root masses, gravels, tributaries, backwaters….   anywhere the greeblies can escape to and recolonise after disturbance events.  Outside of that, they need food and moderately clean water.   (I think most bugs can tolerate fairly wide swings in water quality under normal conditions).

Phil Ross


Land Use- Aquatic Integrity Studies


From: Kris Stepenuck []
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 11:48 AM
To: Volunteer water monitoring
Subject: [volmonitor] Land use – aquatic integrity studies

Hi everyone-

Thanks so much for your wonderful response to my request for nitrogen-related fact sheets. I posted nearly 30 links to nitrogen-related fact sheets at:

I got a few other requests for creating similar publications listings. So, I’d again like to ask for your help in locating online publications, this time about studies relating various parameters of land use/land cover in a watershed (e.g., percent forested cover, road density, % of wetlands filled or disconnected from streams) to aquatic ecosystem integrity (e.g., IBI’s), providing information that might be helpful to communities doing land-use planning/zoning.

Thanks for your help with this!


Kris Stepenuck
Wisconsin Volunteer Stream Monitoring Coordinator
445 Henry Mall, Rm 202
Madison, WI 53706-1577
Phone: 608-265-3887
Fax: 608-262-2031


Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 16:36:55 -0400
From: “Schenk, Ann”
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Land use – aquatic integrity studies

Carolyn and Kris,
I missed the second part of the original post.
The Maryland Biological Stream Survey, and the volunteer component,
Stream Waders, compute IBIs and do land use analysis with respect to the
IBIs.  See the publications.

Ann Schenk
Natural Resource Biologist III
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., C-2
Annapolis, MD 21401
phone: 410-260-8609


Also see: Stepenuck, K.F., R.L. Crunkilton, L. Wang. 2002. Impacts of urban land use on macroinvertebrate communities in southeastern Wisconsin streams. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 38 (4): 1041-1052.


Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 13:54:28 -0400
From: Lorraine Joubert

You could check the Source Water Assessment Reports we prepared for major water suppliers in RI. The assessment method uses a number of watershed pollution risk indicators derived from land use, soils and other GIS coverages. Results are availalbe as full reports, factsheets and maps at:



Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 10:30:04 -0500
From: Tony Thorpe

I’ve got a few scans on my website:

These papers will be regarding reservoirs and not streams.

Of particular interest may be these:
Role of land cover and hydrology in determining nutrients in mid-continent reservoirs: implications for nutrient criteria and management. Jones, J.R., M.F. Knowlton, D.V. Obrecht. 2007. Lake and Reserv. Manage. (in press).

Jones, J.R. and M.F. Knowlton. 2005. Suspended solids in Missouri reservoirs in relation to catchment features and internal processes. Water Research 39: 3629-3635.

Jones, J.R., M.F. Knowlton, D.V. Obrecht and E.A. Cook. 2004 . Importance of landscape variables and morphology on nutrients in Missouri Reservoirs. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 61: 1503-1512.

I just put up one stream paper that you should find useful:
Perkins, Bruce D., K. Lohman, E. Van Nieuwenhuyse and J.R. Jones. 1998. An examination of land cover and stream water quality among physiographic provinces of Missouri, USA. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol.26: 940-947

And I like to get the word on on this one, because it uses volunteer data without it being regarded as a novelty. It’s only tangentially relevant to your land use search, however.:
Obrecht, D.V., A.P. Thorpe and J.R. Jones. 2005. Responses in the James River Arm of Table Rock Lake, Missouri (USA) to point-source phosphorus reduction. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 29: 1043-1048.

All of these papers are on the page linked at the beginning of this email.

Good luck!

Tony Thorpe

Coordinator, Lakes of Missouri Volunteer Program
302 ABNR University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: 1-800-895-2260
Fax: 573-884-5070


Monitoring Soft Bottom Tidally Influenced Streams


From: Joanna A. Cornell []
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2007 9:33 AM
To: Volunteer water monitoring
Subject: [volmonitor] Monitoring soft-bottom tidally-influenced streams

Hello Everyone,

Are any of you monitoring soft-bottom tidally-influenced streams? If so, I’d love to hear what protocols you are using and what you’re monitoring. I’m exploring the possibility of adding a few such sites to our monitoring program. I look forward to hearing your insights.



Joanna A. Cornell, Ph.D.
Aquatic and Human Ecologist
Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District
12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 905
Fairfax, VA 22035
w: 703.324.1425
f: 703.324.1421


Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2007 10:31:16 -0400
From: Linda Green

Hi Joanna,

The Narrow River Preservation Association ( has been monitoring Narrow River here in RI as a part of URI Watershed Watch (URIWW) for many years. In brief, they monitor a dozen sites from the headwater stream (Gilbert Stuart*’s birthplace!) to the ocean biweekly for DO, temperature, salinity & filter water for subsequent lab analysis of chlorophyll and collect monthly water samples at low tide for URIWW lab analysis of bacteria (enterococci) , total, nitrate- and ammonia-N, total P. The monitoring protocol can be found online.  As a result of what they have found they are also monitoring several tributary streams and a storm drain outfall.

Interestingly Narrow River starts as the outflow of a freshwater lake, Carr or Pasacauco Pond, then becomes Gilbert Stuart stream and flows into 2 deep ponds, Upper and Lower Ponds, which are stratified due to chloride from salt and then into the Narrow (Pettasquamscutt) River. The ponds rarely destratify and when they do the river turns yellow from sulfur and reeks of hydrogen sulfide.

*Gilbert Stuart painted the famous portrait of George Washington that’s on our $1 bill.

Hope this is helpful,

Linda Green
URI Watershed Watch Program Director
URI Cooperative Extension Water Quality
College of the Environment and Life Sciences
CIK, 1 Greenhouse Road
Kingston, RI 02881-0804


Lakeshore Value


Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2007 14:21:08 -0500
From: “Korth, Robert”
Subject: Lake value perimeter

Hello there

For some time there has been an interest in finding ways to show that clean, healthy lakes are important to our nation’s economy. Some states such as Minnesota, New Hampshire, Maine and Wisconsin have had some economic studies, hedonic modeling and other work done that look at the variation in waterfront property values with different parameters, such as water clarity, how does value change when there is removal of shoreland vegetation and so on.

We looked at a simple premise: if we could discover the length of the frontage around lakes and we had some idea of the going price of a front foot in a given county, we should be able to get a rough idea of the value of bare lakeshore frontage (not considering improvements) in a given county. By calculating the number of feet around the lakes in a county, we felt the information could be used to give a county a rough idea of the value of their lake frontage.

Here is our Shoreline Length Analysis giving the number of feet around Wisconsin lakes by county and for the total state. (See the attachments which describe the methods used and give a break down by county: Shoreline Length Analysis by County.doc and shoreline_length.xls )

The approximate length around WI lakes, ponds, flowages, reservoirs (including the Great Lakes, but not including rivers or streams) is:
· 29,305 miles – greater than the circumference of the earth around the equator.
· 154.7 million feet of frontage. If you picked a number such as $1,000 for the average value of a front foot of shoreline, that would equate to a total value for the frontage of all the lakes in WI of: $154.7 billion dollars. To come up with more accurate values for your county, use what you believe is the average value per front foot in your area.

For comparison purposes, we pulled together some numbers on agriculture and forestry land:
· According to USDA Economic Research Services, total farmland in WI in 2002 was estimated at 15.7 million acres. Using a value of $3000/acre, this would equate to approximately $46 billion dollars.

· According to the US Forest Service, total forestland in WI in 2006 was estimated at 15.9 million acres. Using a value of $3000/acre, this would equate to approximately $48 billion dollars.

(This information was compiled by Robert Korth and Tiffany Lyden, UW Extension Lakes at UW-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources, working with Doug Miskowiak, at the Center for Land Use Education.)

Please feel free to share this.

R Korth, T Lyden

Robert Korth

800 Reserve St
UWEX Lakes
UW Stevens Point
College of Natural Resources
Stevens Point WI 54481

Tiffany Lyden
UW-Extension Lakes
800 Reserve St.
College of Natural Resources
UW-Stevens Point
Stevens Point, WI 54481

Douglas Miskowiak
Land Use/ GIS Specialist
Center for Land Use Education (CLUE)
Global Environmental Managment (GEM)
College of Natural Resources
University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
800 Reserve Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481
ph. 715.346.4989


Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 12:34:07 -0400
From: “O’Neill, Mike”
Subject: RE: [CSREESVolMon] Value of lakeshore perimeter

Just a thought about these calculations…

An acre of land is 43,560 square feet (a square of approximately 209 feet on a side). Using those dimensions and the estimate provided in the email, an acre of unfinished lakefront property would be valued at $43,560,000 – probably well beyond the fair market value for such property. I’m guessing that a “building lot” of lake front property goes for somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000. You can estimate the value of the lake front by first getting the square foot cost and then multiplying by linear feet (or miles) – you probably get an estimate of $4 – $5 per linear foot of waterfront – substantially lower than the $1000 estimate. This would put the value of lake front between $619 and $774 Million.

Cheers, Mike

Michael P. O’Neill
National Program Leader, Water Resources
202-205-5952 Voice
202-401-1706 Fax


Tile Line Monitoring


Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2007 15:34:15 -0500
From: Kris Stepenuck


Just wondering if any of you are involved in tile line monitoring on farms and if so, I’d be interested in learning what methods you follow, particularly for flow monitoring, but also other parameters as well.


Kris Stepenuck

Kris Stepenuck
Wisconsin Volunteer Stream Monitoring Coordinator
445 Henry Mall, Rm 202
Madison, WI 53706-1577
Phone: 608-265-3887
Fax: 608-262-2031


Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2007 16:04:03 -0500
From: “O’Brien, Eric [DNR]”

Put a balloon over the outlet and fill away!

Eric O’Brien
Beach Monitoring Coordinator
Iowa DNR, Water Monitoring
109 Trowbridge Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242-1319

Office: (319) 353-2835
Cell: (319) 560-6128

Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2007 17:11:05 -0500
From: Scott Dye

Kris, All–

I’ve responded to the whole list as there may be others who would find this
resource helpful.

Our Michigan CAFO staff Sentinel Lynn Henning has done extensive monitoring
of tile systems, much of it around mega-dairies. She has more knowledge
about tile systems, their operation, and monitoring them than anyone else
I’m aware of in the US.

Lynn would be happy to field any questions on the topic. Contact her off
listserv at:

Lynn Henning
(517) 605-7740 Cell

Scott Dye, National Director
Sierra Club Water Sentinels Program

Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2007 22:32:28 -0400
From: Lynn Henning


Hi Kris,
I do things very cheaply. To measure water from tile I use gallon jugs, or bags, and time it for 10 seconds and multiply to get gallons per minute (or you can weigh it) Also I was taught to use a ruler and use a leaf and drop it at one end of the ruler and time how long it takes to reach the other end of the ruler.( this will give you the speed such as 1 foot per 5 seconds to show the speed) I also take digital pictures to show how much water is coming from the tile. You can also measure speed of the water with your camera if you have time and date and measure the location you take the picture of)
I mainly use a DO meter. For my work I take pictures of the tile at least three days a week to show flow, color. I get many discharges just before large predicted rainfalls. Just by taking pictures with time and date we have gotten enforcement from the agencies.


Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2007 13:09:59 -0700
From: Eleanor Ely

Sorry to be chiming in a little late — but just want to mention there is an
article in the Winter 2006 Volunteer Monitor newsletter
about volunteers with the Michigan Sierra Club Water Sentinels Project
monitoring CAFOs for E. coli. See the article “Monitoring Water Pollution
from CAFOs” by Rita Jack, starting on page 19.

Eleanor Ely
Editor, The Volunteer Monitor Newsletter
50 Benton Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112


Advocacy Rules of Engagement


Date: Fri, 05 Oct 2007
From: Michele Wheeler
Subject: [volmonitor] Advocacy Rules of engagement

Hi there folks,

Our organization has traditionally steered clear of an advocacy role as we’ve been building relationships with our largely rural residents. But we are now revisiting this stance.

Do any of you have a set of guidelines, criteria or a written/generally understood policy for when, how, what issues with respect to advocacy in your organization?



Date: Fri, 05 Oct 2007 12:56:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Advocacy Rules of engagement

Friends of Five Creeks, an 11-year-old group that does mostly hands-on restoration, requires that advocacy be directly related to “our” watersheds, consensus of our board (or members at a meeting, but this time never works out) before taking controversial stands, and approval of letters or public statements if time allows — otherwise prompt notice to the board. Also, only one spokesperson/letter writer unless delegated. None of “directly related,” “controversial” or “consensus” is defined in our bylaws, but this has worked well for us in keeping our organization harmonious and allowing us to take stands on important issues, including broad ones, without veering too far off course or getting distracted.

Susan Schwartz, president
Friends of Five Creeks

Date: Fri, 05 Oct 2007 14:40:05 -0400
From: Nancy Hadley

What type of organization do you have? Is it private, state, what?

Nancy Hadley
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
SCORE program
PO Box 12559
217 Fort Johnson Road
Charleston, SC 29412
(843) 953-9841

Date: Tue, 09 Oct 2007 07:44:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: Michele Wheeler
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Advocacy Rules of engagement
To: Volunteer water monitoring

We’re a non-profit 501 c3