Water quality is a crucial factor that directly impacts the quality and quantity of fish in a system. Water quality variables in the Okanogan and Similkameen Rivers such as temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen limits have already exceeded Washington’s Water Quality Standards set by the Washington State Department of Ecology, some as recent as 2010.
Temperature loggers are deployed at the beginning of the water year (October 1st) at the physical habitat sampling sites. Data collected from annual sites is downloaded several times prior to October 1st of the following year to ensure the sensors are working. Whenever the sensors are downloaded, batteries are replaced if required. Data from Panel sites is also downloaded several times throughout the year and are moved to the following year’s Panel sites by October 1st. The temperature sensors collect hourly data throughout the entire year. Data is checked for errors and uploaded into the OBMEP database.
Point estimates of dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, and turbidity are measured with a Manta water quality probe (Eureka Environmental). The probe is calibrated prior to use in the field per the manufacturer’s instructions. Measurements are then taken at the physical habitat sampling sites by submerging the probe in a grab sample taken from the stream.