Intensively Monitored Watersheds (IMWs) Project

Project Description

In 2005, PNAMP recommended establishing a regional network of Intensively Monitored Watersheds (IMWs) to evaluate the effectiveness of restoration projects, programs and policies at the landscape scale. The basic premise is that the complex relationships controlling salmon response to habitat conditions can best be understood by concentrating and integrating rigorous monitoring and research efforts at a few locations. IMWs reduce the complications of monitoring project effectiveness, increase the comprehensiveness of monitoring, and increase efficiencies through shared responsibilities.

To date, PNAMP has produced the 2005 IMW strategy, followed up by a white paper describing the overall suite of action effectiveness approaches and a context for how IMWs fit in and has hosted 2 workshops (2008 and 2013). More than 80 participants attended the 2013 workshop and shared lessons learned from current IMWs and offered and recommendations for future work. PNAMP will host new materials as a result of this workshop, so stay tuned for easy access here (this web page) and new materials developed for technical and non-technical audiences.

For more information about PNAMP activities on this topic, click on "Events", "Documents" and "Key Documents" in the bottom right corner of this page.

Project Team

The Project Team consists of a group of in-kind participants that provide subject matter expertise and develop final products. We are currently searching for a new leader for the project. Jen Bayer is facilitator for this project.


IMW Papers Published!

April 23, 2016 - 9:41am

Intensively Monitored Watersheds provide powerful insight into effects of stream restoration

An emerging research method to gauge the benefits of stream restoration for salmon and other native fish is revealing improvements in fish numbers, survival and reproduction in key rivers across the Pacific Northwest, according to a new research paper describing the approach, known as intensively monitored watersheds, or IMWs. At least 17 intensively monitored watersheds in the Northwest are beginning to provide detailed scientific insight into how the millions of dollars invested in river and stream restoration can most effectively boost fish populations, according to the new paper published February, 2016, in Fisheries, the monthly journal of the American Fisheries Society.

Check out "Progress and Challenges of Testing the Effectiveness of Stream Restoration in the Pacific Northwest Using Intensively Monitored Watersheds" (Bennett, Pess, Bouwes et al. 2016), and its companion essay, "Adapting Adaptive Management for Testing the Effectiveness of Stream Restoration: An Intensively Monitored Watershed Example" (Bouwes, Bennett and Wheaton 2016).

Thanks to everyone who contributed to these papers, who implements IMWs on the ground, and who participated in the 2013 PNAMP IMW workshop, which was the inspiration for this work.

You can learn more about PNW IMWs at this new PNAMP web resource:

PNAMP is planning another IMW workshop for fall of 2016 - stay tuned!

Follow up to IMW Workshop (September 26, 2013)

September 26, 2013 - 2:20pm

Follow up to IMW Workshop (March 20-21, 2013)
This workshop convened more than 80 practitioners currently working in the field of Intensively Monitored Watersheds (IMWs). Presentations included details of current IMWs with an emphasis on lessons learned and recommendations for current and future IMW projects. Fifteen IMW studies were presented - from across the Northwest including the Columbia River Basin, Puget Sound, and the Oregon, Washington, and northern California coasts. In-depth discussion sessions moderated by leading IMW scientists and other experts in communication and data management followed the presentations on Day 2 of the workshop. Discussion sessions focused on key aspects of designing and implementing IMWs, including experimental design, data analysis, data management, coordination of restoration activities with monitoring efforts, and communication.
IMW practitioners shared their successes, failures, and insights on the challenges of this coordinated experimental approach that integrates watershed-level restoration activities with carefully designed and intensive monitoring efforts. This workshop was an opportunity for IMW practitioners to document and integrate their experiences to strengthen current and future IMW efforts and to identify the next steps PNAMP could take to assist practitioners in the planning and implementing IMWs.

Presentations are posted on the PNAMP website here:

Workshop notes are posted on the PNAMP webpage here:

Products from the Workshop
The workshop resulted in a summary of all current IMW projects. The summary contains information from sixteen different IMW projects, including lessons learned, recommendations, purpose and scope of the project, design information, analysis details, sponsor and cooperators, etc.

IMW summary document is posted on the PNAMP web page here:

PNAMP will post additional products as they are completed.

Thanks to all who planned, presented, moderated, and participated!

Related Resources