Throughout the Pacific Northwest there is an increasing demand for comprehensive information on the status and trend of aquatic ecosystems. At the same time, economic realities mean that the entities charged with obtaining this information are expected to do more with less. Currently, there are at least five different programs proposed or underway for monitoring of aquatic resources in the Pacific Northwest. Often there is significant overlap in questions being addressed, methodology, and spatial domains of inference of these habitat monitoring programs. Despite this overlap, it is often difficult to share data among habitat monitoring entities because of potentially rectifiable differences in study designs. The premise of PNAMP’s Integrated Status and Trend Monitoring (ISTM) project is that better coordination among the habitat monitoring programs will lead to more efficient and effective aquatic resource monitoring throughout the region. For this to occur, monitoring entities need to compare goals, objectives, protocols, and inference domains. By identifying commonalities and rectifiable differences, it will be possible to develop more coordinated, effective, and efficient multi-agency aquatic monitoring programs for the Pacific Northwest.
The goal of the Integrated Status and Trend Monitoring (ISTM) project is to develop recommendations for regional aquatic ecosystem monitoring entities on ways to design and implement more coordinated, efficient, and effective aquatic ecosystem monitoring. To do this, the ISTM project is divided into components to address fish monitoring, habitat monitoring, and to develop a regional master sample tracking tool. The Fish component is working on recommendations for salmon and steelhead monitoring; the Habitat component is working on recommendations for aquatic ecosystem monitoring.
Consistent with the overall objectives for the ISTM project, the objectives of the Habitat component are:
1. Identify & prioritize decisions, questions, and objectives
2. Review existing programs and designs and identify gaps
3. Identify monitoring designs, sampling frames, protocols, and analytical tools that facilitate more coordinated, efficient, and effective monitoring programs
4. Use trade-off analyses to develop recommendations for monitoring
5. Recommend implementation and reporting mechanisms